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Leaders needn't be the Captain

Leaders needn't be the Captain

Much is already being made about the Denilson interview conducted by Brazilian Arsenal supporters earlier this month and published on arseblog. If you haven't seen it it's worth taking in.

Denilson is probably learning Kiplings wisdom as he endures the 'truth' he's spoken 'being twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools'. It`s a good sensible and lengthy interview in which he says a great deal about the difficulties of moving continents at a young age to pursue a career, his relationships at the club and his loyalty to and ambition for the club.

Predictably his comments about Cesc not being a leader and a lack of leadership in the team in general will spark the most heat. Of more concern though should be that he doesn't see any real leaders at the club, that the team is more of a collective, working together well but limited to an extent by the absence of a forceful, driving personality on the pitch. I suppose, as captain, Cesc might be entitled to feel a little irked by such comments but in all honesty the view can't be a great surprise to anyone. At his best Cesc is a supreme and valuable player but not really a true leader, not yet anyway and in all probability it will never be a particular strength of his personality.

It's not even a unique situation for the club in that Vieira wasn't a true leader either. Vieira's situation was different though in that he did have leaders on the pitch with him that had captained club and country; Gilberto, Campbell, Ljungberg, Lehmann even, were all leaders though with different styles. At the same time Henry, Pires and Lauren were all senior personalities. Vieira had the advantage of being captain of a team that didn't need captaining.

Cesc doesn't have that advantage in what is still a relatively young team with perhaps those with leadership potential not yet being at the stage of their careers in which maturity can endow them with a degree of leadership acceptance. We will find leaders among these players but I'd have to agree with Denilson that it isn't there yet.

If any player should be aggrieved by Denilson's claim that there aren't any leaders anywhere at the club it might be deputy captain Rosicky who is a player to have held the captaincy for Dortmund and his national team. As one of Denilson's best buddies, according to the interview, he might be having a word with him too.

The Arseblog video, interspersed with Denilson clips, ends with a clip of Fabregas embracing Denilson. Hopefully that's the way it will be seen.

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Date:Wednesday January 19 2011
Time: 9:50AM


I read this on the sun and instantly dismissed it as over quoted ********* like every Wenger interview they post.
19/01/2011 09:58:00
Full interview can be seen here:
Wyn Mills
19/01/2011 10:08:00
Surely the situation is indeed unique if we appear not to have any natural 'leader' in the team itsef?
Wyn Mills
19/01/2011 10:12:00
It's not unique that the captain isn't a true leader which was the point of the Vieira example. I suspect it's not unique that Arsenal teams of the past haven't always been blessed with natural leaders too.
19/01/2011 10:15:00
Agreed, but I would in turn hazard a guess that one could correlate periods of success for the club with strong leadership on the pitch.
Wyn Mills
19/01/2011 10:19:00
Anyway, here's Cesc's reply:
Wyn Mills
19/01/2011 10:22:00
I think Cesc is a leader, I think he has an inspirational personality on the pitch and is the heartbeat of the team. The crux lies in an illustration used in the article, he lacks liuetenants Even Adams had Bould, Keown, Dixon, Seaman, Smith etc. Cesc is largely doing the job on his lonesome which is a tough call. But I do very much regard him as captain material, the Stoke game last season proved that much I think.
Little Dutch
19/01/2011 10:29:00
Which successful Arsenal team in the past hasn't been blessed with a natural leader for captain?
19/01/2011 10:29:00
Cesc has already Twitterered that he understands Denilson's comments are being taken out of proportion. He doesn't seem to give a *****. I think Cesc is a good captain, he leads the team by example and I think we see him trying to gee up the troops often enough. If the players don't believe he's a good captain then he's good one hell of a good act going on there. I wouldn't have anyone else right now.

SW - Patrick Vieira wasn't a natrual leader anymore than Cesc, and that team could be considered successful. Other than that, the only other captains I've know is Henry and Adams, so can't really comment.
19/01/2011 10:42:00
The argument above is the Invincibles under Vieira. Personally I disagree with this. I thought Vieira was a leader and revealed this during many feisty clashes with opponents. Crucially he was aided by Campbell in defence and Henry in attack. I reserve judgement on Cesc. I haven't seen enough to convince me that he is a natural leader. Clearly Denilson does not rate him as such.
Wyn Mills
19/01/2011 10:43:00
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