Cesc Fabregas showed his loyalty to Arsenal when he signed a new eight-year contract last October. Now he wants to show his leadership.
The midfielder has been the subject of much speculation this summer but, despite reports linking him with a move back to Spain, Fabregas has tied his colours firmly to Arsenal's mast. Indeed, the 20-year-old intends to shoulder a heavier burden when the new season gets underway.
"Since I signed this contract everybody could see I really believe in this team and my commitment is the same as the first day I came here," said Fabregas.
"I believed I could do something for Arsenal and now I have the chance to play for the first team. I have a big responsibility, like everybody, and all I want to do is play here.
"You never know the future and when you are a footballer anything can happen. But right now, Arsenal is the best place for me."
Fabregas has only been out of his teens for two months but has more than 100 first-team games under his belt. Even before the departure of Thierry Henry, the Spaniard had emerged as the fulcrum of the Arsenal side, dictating the tempo of their play from the centre of midfield.
And Arsenal's fans are well aware of Fabregas' contribution, rewarding the 20-year-old with a landslide victory in the Club's official Player of the Season poll.
Fabregas' pivotal role makes him a difficult man to drop, despite the rigours of the long English season. Arsène Wenger will be wary of giving the Spaniard a rest when he needs it and Fabregas himself is aware of the dangers of 'burn-out'. That said, he finds it hard to say 'no' when there is a match to be played.
"I want to play every game if I can," admitted Fabregas. "Of course, physically, you cannot always be 100 per cent. You have to be professional off the pitch as well, try to eat well when you can.
"Even if I say I don't want to play the Carling Cup when it comes I will want to play and get angry if I'm not involved. That is the way I am."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 31 Jul 2007