Thomas Vermaelen says his first season as Arsenal captain has been a valuable learning experience - regardless of his own ups or downs.

The Belgian centre back has been out of the starting line-up recently due to the good form of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny, but he believes this has been part of his learning curve this term.

I make sure I am there for my team-mates. I speak to players individually, but I’m not a big talker in general

Whether playing or not, Vermaelen is determined to be the best skipper he possibly can.

"I’m approaching the end of my first season as Arsenal captain, and I’ve certainly learned a lot," he told the official matchday programme.

"It’s been a new experience for me and I’ve taken plenty from it. Of course it’s been disappointing, on a personal level, not to be playing much over the last few weeks - but again, that’s something you learn from and you make sure to take positives from it.

"That’s what I did when I missed a season through injury, and it’s what I am doing now. You can only become stronger from these different experiences.

“Regardless of whether I’ve been playing, my style of captaincy has remained the same and I make sure I am there for my team-mates. I speak to players individually, but I’m not a big talker in general. The team is doing well, and I’m ready when called upon.

"I feel good, fit and confident so if the manager needs me I will be ready to take my place.”

Vermaelen also had words of praise for Tuesday's opponents, FA Cup winners Wigan, who effectively need a win if their eight-year stint in the Premier League is to stand a chance of being prolonged.

He said: "[The FA Cup win] just underlines that they will be a big threat, especially given their league position. We have a saying in Belgium that people can come up with great achievements when they are in danger, so it is clear that full focus will be needed tonight.

"Their win here last season only adds to that impression, so we need to keep all of this in mind and concentrate on producing another good performance."

Matchday Programme

Read more from Thomas in the Wigan Athletic edition

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 Nick Ames 14 May 2013