Isaac Hayden believes the responsibility of being named captain gets the very best out of him.
Hayden enjoyed a promising campaign last season and produced a series of assured performances in both central defence and midfield for Arsenal’s under-18, under-21 and NextGen Series sides.
The teenager has skippered the under-18s and says that taking the armband has helped develop the mental side of his game.
I love the feeling of being captain. It doesn’t change the way I play, but it gives you a certain mental edgeIsaac Hayden
“It's funny really, my dad and my coaches always used to say I didn’t talk enough,” Hayden told the Official Arsenal Magazine. “I did captain an under-12 team in France and we got to the final, but that was the first time ever and it was a surreal experience. I didn’t understand really what it meant.
“After that, it wasn't really until the latter stages of under-16 football at Arsenal that I was given the captaincy again. Since then, I've haven’t wanted to give it up and have improved on the leadership qualities needed.
“I’ve captained the youth team as a first year, which is a good achievement. I haven’t captained the under-21s yet, but hopefully next season I might get that chance.
"I love the feeling of being captain. It doesn’t change the way I play, but it gives you a certain mental edge. You know you're the one who needs to take that extra responsibility, to lead by example, do things right and never let the team down.”Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 13 Jun 2013