By Joe Brewin
Thomas Vermaelen admits he relishes the responsibility of being Arsenal's vice-captain.
The Belgian international was appointed second in command to Robin van Persie last summer after recovering from an injury-hit campaign in 2010/11.
It is a decision which has paid dividends for Arsène Wenger and Vermaelen says he has thoroughly enjoyed his new role.
“When the boss made me vice-captain it made me proud,” the defender told Arsenal Player. “I am really happy to be vice-captain of such a big club like Arsenal.
“I feel the responsibility to help the captain in his role as well, and of course that means the Club and the boss give you a lot of confidence.”
Vermaelen says a strong team bond off the pitch is important - but insists that nobody should be afraid to tell their team-mates exactly what they think on it as well.
“If the chemistry is right off the pitch then I think you see that on it too,” the centre back said. “It is really important that you have a happy dressing room and that the players are always happy to come to the Club and get along with each other.
"It means you will work hard for your team-mate because you get along with each other.
“I know the Dutch like to be straight with each other and tell people what they think and that is important.
“If you can tell your team-mate what is going wrong and they accept it, that means something is going well in the team. If he can't accept it then that is not good. To say what you think to other players is really important.”
Watch the full interview with Thomas on Arsenal Player now.Copyright 2013 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 23 May 2012