By Richard Clarke

Arsène Wenger intends to speak to William Gallas after the Arsenal captain was pictured holding a cigarette in a national newspaper on Friday morning.

The 31-year-old was not smoking and the cigarette was not even lit however his manager feels the need to clear up the matter. From what he said at that day’s press conference, Wenger will have stern words for Gallas if he was lighting up.

“I didn't see the picture,” he remarked. “But I have been informed about it and I don't like that. I will check it with him.

“He has a responsibility as captain of Arsenal Football Club and [smoking] cannot be accepted.”

For Wenger, the skipper’s armband always brings extra scrutiny. The manager admits that his captain has made errors in the past but, at the same time, he believes the amount of mud slung in Gallas’ direction far outweighs his culpability.

“It is a public job with a public responsibility,” he said. “That is exactly the same for everybody.

“But he has learned a lot. He has taken a lot of criticism, of course, but I think he took it in a positive way. He himself has come out and said 'I made a mistake last year and I will change and redress my attitude’.

“Personally, I believe he has got a lot of unfair criticism too. But what you can never fault with William is his motivation. He wants to do well and he wants his team to win. He has made mistakes but who has not?”

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
24 Oct 2008