London, Aug 13 (IANS) Arsenal head coach Arsene Wenger on Saturday named defender Per Mertesacker as the club’s new captain for the football season despite the German being out until the New Year with an injury.
The veteran centre-back will miss the first four months of the season with a knee problem, having undergone surgery, but will succeed Mikel Arteta, who retired, as skipper.
Wenger said he will look to experienced players Laurent Koscielny, Santi Cazorla and goalkeeper Petr Cech to take the armband in Mertesacker’s absence.
“Per is a very respected figure in the dressing room, is loved as well and is also a very demanding figure. I think it is absolutely natural to be him,” Wenger told Arsenal’s website.
“In his absence, that’s where it will be taken by the assistants. One of them will be Koscielny, also Cazorla — the experienced players — Cech maybe,” added the Frenchman, coaching the London club since 1996.
“We will have a group of people that will take care of the energy levels and the problems of the team. That will be down a lot to the experienced players.”
Mertesacker, 31, joined Arsenal from Werder Bremen in 2011 and has made over 200 appearances for the club.