Arsenal players to vote on new captains

Arsenal’s players celebrate on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in London on September 22, 2019. – Arsenal won the game 3-2. (Photo by Tolga AKMEN / AFP)

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has asked his players to vote for their preferred choices as captain as he rebuilds his five-strong leadership group, according to defender Rob Holding.

Emery introduced a pool of five captains following his appointment last year but out of his original choices, Laurent Koscielny, Petr Cech and Aaron Ramsey have left the club.

Midfielder Granit Xhaka has so far worn the armband in the Premier League this season but is yet to convince in the role and was jeered by his own fans during the weekend win over Aston Villa, while the peripheral Mesut Ozil is the only other member of the initial five still at the club.

Holding revealed that Spanish coach Emery recently conducted a poll of the dressing room.

“He likes his five captains. We all did a vote the other week so we’ll see what happens and see who gets named,” said Holding.

“It was just write names down and then give them to the manager and he will go through them obviously with his input and we’ll see what happens.

“I have no idea (when an announcement will be made), but there are a lot of leaders in that team who are helping each other out and pushing each other on.”

Arsenal have been repeatedly criticised for a perceived lack of leadership, dating back to the reign of Arsene Wenger.

Out-of-favour Ozil was named captain for Tuesday’s League Cup win over Nottingham Forest before passing the responsibility to centre-back Holding when he was substituted.

While he was unwilling to reveal his choice of skipper, Holding described Xhaka as “a great leader” and also praised the influence of experienced close-season signing David Luiz.

Asked if Arsenal have more leaders than critics believe, Holding said: “For sure. You can see it in training. The way David Luiz has come in and when he is talking in front of the group he speaks really well.”

Holding marked his return from a nine-month injury lay-off by scoring just seconds after taking the armband from Ozil in the 5-0 win over Forest.

And the 24-year-old has aspirations of performing the role again.

“I would love to be a captain and being captain of Arsenal is unbelievable,” he said. “It would be a great feeling.”

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