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Gallas backed to keep armband

William Gallas is set to hold on to the Tottenham captaincy after impressing his manager and team-mates in Saturday's stunning come-from-behind 3-2 win at Arsenal.

• Redknapp: Spurs title contenders

Harry Redknapp somewhat controversially handed the former Gunner the armband for the first time ahead of the North London derby and the heat was on Gallas as the home supporters jeered him and Arsenal midfielder Samir Nasri refused to shake his hand pre-match.

But Gallas produced a superb display at the back for Spurs, not only individually but in an organisational capacity, with Jermaine Jenas hailing the 33-year-old's communication as critical to his own performance in front of the back four.

Victory gave Gallas the last laugh over former team-mate Nasri, although the Frenchman refused to gloat over his countryman, just as he refused to fully celebrate with his ecstatic team-mates at full time at the Emirates.

Gallas said in the Sun: "Yes, Nasri snubbed me but I think that he's still young, you have to understand him. It's a shame that he reacted this way. Yes, let's just say it's a shame for him."

On the hostile reception at his old stomping ground he added: "I knew it would be like this. But when you are a professional player you should expect this kind of reception. I actually found that the fans were kind to me, considering I played four years there."

Nasri explained his ire against his former international team-mate, saying he would never follow in Gallas' footsteps in crossing North London: "There are always ups and downs in life but I have a lot of respect for the way a player stays loyal to his club. I cannot see myself going and joining the sworn enemy. There are loads of other clubs, other clubs in London. But going to Tottenham? No I cannot see it at all."

Redknapp revealed he was considering making Gallas captain full time, such was his performance under pressure.

He said: "I made William captain because he would be coming back to Arsenal and it was a good gesture. I thought he deserved it the way he's played and, to be fair, little Luka Modric is captain sometimes but he is quiet and doesn't say much. William led by example. He responded well. I'll look at sticking with him as captain, especially after this win.

"William has come in and done a good job for us. He came on a free, on half his wages at Arsenal, and he's shown some character to do that. There was no way he was going to go 'I can't go to Spurs, I've played for Arsenal'. He's a footballer, he's played at Chelsea, Arsenal and now Spurs. There is nothing wrong in that. I wasn't bothered he didn't shake hands with Nasri. I think it is petty really, I don't know what their problems were, they had an argument?"

Gallas' team-mates Jenas and Younes Kaboul backed up their manager's views, citing Gallas' leadership and experience as potentially the missing link that could take Tottenham to new heights.

Jenas said: "Absolutely brilliant he was. From start to finish, he was fantastic for us and I was so pleased for him. The pressure was on him, everyone was watching him and he got the armband and led by example. He is fantastic. He led by example and he was a voice in my ear, especially in that second half when the team needed me to sit a little bit more and graft in front of them and try and get around Cesc (Fabregas).

"He was in my ear constantly trying to help me because it's not natural to me. And I did it. He is a laugh as well. He has come to Spurs and wants to work and win games and he has given us that experience that we probably needed.''

Defensive partner and match-winner Younes Kaboul said: "William is an experienced player: he is very clever, very intelligent. It is normal in football that the other fans will boo him, but going over that, those people are cheap - they do not remember well what William did for Arsenal before. They should respect him for that. William won and that was the answer.''


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