Sokratis Papastathopoulos says it doesn’t really matter who is wearing the captain’s armband, the team just need to be like a family in the dressing room.
The issue of the Arsenal captaincy has obviously become a big one in the opening months of the season.
We’ve had former captain Laurent Koscielny going on strike to force his way out, a long and drawn-out process to decide a new captain, only for the eventual player appointed to have a very public falling out with the fans and see the armband taken away again.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the third player to take on the role of official club captain since the end of last season, but Sokratis says all the fuss about the armband is unnecessary.
“I think it is the first time he is a captain,” Sokratis said. “For me, it’s important that Aubameyang first has to score, he has to do his work. The captaincy or who has this [armband] on the pitch, I don’t think it is very important.
“He is a very good guy, but who has the captaincy is not very important. It is important that all the team is good in the dressing room. We are like a family. In the end, who brings to the pitch the captaincy is the last thing.”
There’s some truth to this statement, certainly. The captaincy isn’t nearly as important as it once was, at any club, and it’s mostly a ceremonial position at this stage.
All the same, there are still responsibilities expected of a captain. They need to communicate with the officials on the team’s behalf, they need to represent the club well in interviews after the game and be a voice to the fans whether things are going well or they aren’t.
Given the troubles Arsenal have had with the captaincy this season, it makes sense that the players would try to downplay its importance. Let’s hope Aubameyang can remind everyone how the captaincy can be used for the benefit of the team in future though.