By Declan Taylor

Arsène Wenger believes that “shared leadership” on the pitch has superseded the role of a talismanic captain in English football.

Wenger relied on ‘Mr. Arsenal,’ Tony Adams, as the leader of his team when he began his tenure at the Club in 1996 but the Frenchman thinks that the sheer pace of the Premier League has made that role largely redundant.

William Gallas captained Wenger’s side to a crucial victory over Manchester United on Saturday but the manager attributed Arsenal’s win to the collective spirit shown by his players.

“I don’t agree anymore when people say you need a leader on the football field,” said Wenger. “Football has evolved and it is so quick nowadays there is less time available for one person to lead the team. You need more shared leadership on the pitch.

“You need five or six leaders in the team. You still need those people talking in the dressing room but on the pitch it has become too quick for just one guy to say ‘come on everybody come here,’ that has finished now. Now the goalkeeper catches the ball and straight away the ball is in the other half.

“I believe that against Man United we had 11 leaders on the football pitch because everybody took initiative at the right moment.”

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10 Nov 2008