By Declan Taylor

Kyle Bartley has described receiving the Reserve team captaincy as a “terrific honour”.

The armband has been worn by a number of different second-string players over the past 18 months but the Manchester-born defender was named the official skipper during the summer.

Despite missing most of pre-season with an Achilles’ tendon injury, Bartley has slotted effortlessly into the backline this season, starring at centre-half in the Reserves’ two victories so far.

After the latest win - Arsenal’s 4-0 thrashing of Birmingham on Tuesday - Bartley told about being handed the captaincy.

“Neil sat us down as a group and told us I was going to be the captain,” he explained. “It’s a terrific honour for me.

“I was youth-team captain at [former-club] Bolton and it’s something I’m hoping to bring to my game here at Arsenal.

“I feel I’m a good talker and I like to keep everyone motivated on the pitch. I feel like the lads can come to me whenever there’s a problem.”

Arsène Wenger has championed the notion of ‘shared-leadership’ in his first-team squad. And Bartley believes that the principle has been adopted at Reserve level too.

“We are all leaders on the pitch,” the 18-year-old defender said. “It is all about that collective leadership.

“Everyone can have their say and everyone can have a moan but someone has to take the armband.

“I’m just very thankful that that’s me and I’m looking forward to pushing on.”

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4 Sep 2009