Writer: Tim Stillman
Date:Monday April 21 2008
Brazilian midfielder and all round nice guy Gilberto Silva will talk about his future with gaffer Arsene Wenger at the end of the season. 31 year old Gilberto was probably Arsenal's player of the season last year, but has found himself ousted from the side by Mathieu Flamini.
But rather than bitch and moan to his agent and the papers, or swerve his expensive cars off the road in fury, the veteran nicknamed 'The Invisible Wall', has kept his counsel. When questioned about his future, Gilberto would only say that he will 'speak very nicely' with Wenger at the season's end.
' I will sit down with the boss at the end of the season,' he said. 'But for the next few weeks, I will keep focused on doing my job and try to help the team as much as I can. Whether it's on the pitch as I was on Saturday, or whether it's on the training pitch working with the players.
'I will always do my best as a professional but then, at the end of the season, I will see when I speak to Arsène. We always speak very nicely, the conversations we have are very nice. He's open and we'll talk.'
It's quite a domesticated image is it not? One imagines Gilberto knocking on the manager's door with a fresh supply of custard creams while Wenger potters about the office in his slippers to put the kettle on. They might even gossip about the time Jens Lehmann roundhouse kicked the crossbar for 'looking at me wiz ze funny eyez.' Or the time Gallas cried when he lost a game of head tennis.
The tea slurping, custard cream loving Brazil skipper continued, ' 'I still have one more year. To be honest, I really want to stay and I've always expressed that. Of course I'm upset that I've not played much this season because last year I played the whole season and this year has been really frustrating.
'But you need to be professional, respect the manager's point of view and help the other players to the maximum that I possibly can.'
I know it has been said many times before, but so many footballers could learn from his example. With Flamini looking likely to leave, Gilberto might consider his chances of regaining his place in the team. Usually, I am not one for sentiment, but given the crummy way in which Gilberto found out he had been overlooked as captain last summer, if he was to leave, I'd love to see him made captain for the last home game.
Date:Monday April 21 2008
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