by Lewis Ambrose

Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla has said that he was surprised to be given the responsibility of captaining the side in the absence of Mikel Arteta and Per Mertesacker last season.

Cazorla was speaking ahead of the launch of the Puma Arsenal home kit for the 2015/16 season at Emirates Stadium on Monday night.

The 30 year-old midfielder was playing his third season at Arsenal and with his abundance of quality and experience has emerged as a leader in this current squad.

Not only is Cazorla one of the senior players at the club but he is a model professional and a superb talent. It’s without a doubt that, despite his small stature, he is the ideal player for younger members of the squad to look up to.

The Spaniard also has a wealth of experience – he’s won a monstrously impressive 72 caps for Spain while competing with the likes of Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, David Silva and Juan Mata for his place in the national side.

With captain Mikel Arteta injured it was down to Per Mertesacker to lead the side out for the majority of the campaign, but there were times that the German was unavailable or rested.

On those occasions Arsène Wenger turned to Cazorla.


The small Spaniard first led the side out against Everton at the beginning of March and wore the armband again three weeks later at Newcastle.

He even wore the armband for just under an hour at Wembley after Per Mertesacker was injured during the FA Cup semi-final defeat of Reading.

“I was very surprised to be chosen as captain,” Cazorla confessed.

“It was down to Mr Wenger and it was a huge responsibility for me but a great honour.

“If I’m put in this position I have to be a role model, a point of reference on the field.”

With his impeccable conduct on the pitch adding to all his other attributes, Cazorla is more suited to the role than might seem immediately obvious.

“Of course Per and Mikel are really the captains, however, if I’m chosen again as captain it would be a duty I would be proud to take.”

With all three players in their thirties it is unlikely they will all feature too often – there should be plenty more opportunities for Santi Cazorla to captain the side next season and beyond.