By Chris Harris
Cesc Fabregas has long been considered an 'old head on young shoulders'. Now Arsène Wenger has pinpointed a 'virtual' age for the new Arsenal captain.
The Frenchman handed Fabregas his first-team debut at the tender age of 16 years 177 days in October 2003. Now, a little over five years on, the influential midfielder has piled up 213 appearances for Arsenal and will lead them out for the first time in the Premier League at Chelsea on Sunday.
Only Tony Adams has captained the Club at a younger age but Wenger is not concerned about that. Although Fabregas is just 21, the Arsenal manager believes he is closer to 26 in footballing terms and does not expect the captaincy to change the Spaniard's approach.
"I think first you want him to do his job well and not to be too worried about the rest, and that is the best way to be a captain basically," said Wenger.
"Play your game well, lead by example, and the rest comes along because I believe that he has experience already, he has [nearly] 250 games for the Club.
"Basically he is 26 instead of being 21 because a player normally at 26, 27 years of age, he has 250 games for his club. That's why I believe, with the rest, he should just behave like he is used to."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 28 Nov 2008