Former Arsenal Defender Martin Keown: Thomas Vermaelen Had An Outstanding Season But Now He Must GrowEx-England man wants Belgian to 'become a leader' at the club...
Former Arsenal star Martin Keown has hailed Thomas Vermaelen's first season at the Emirates Stadium and has challenged him to push on to greater heights next term.
The 24-year-old Belgium international joined the north Londoners from Ajax in the summer and has settled into life in the Premier League with ease at the heart of the Gunners' defence.
In what proved, by boss Arsene Wenger's own admission, a disappointing season defensively for Arsenal this term, Vermaelen was one of the few to excel in his role at centre-back and Keown has now called on the Belgian to build on his hugely successful first year in England.
"He's been outstanding, without doubt, and it's [only] his first year," Keown told Arsenal TV Online.
"What I'd like to see him now do is grow, I'd like to see him become a leader, I'd like to see him become more vocal. It's difficult watching from the sidelines but I get the feeling he is still feeling his way into the team.
"What I love about him is that he attacks the ball. People criticised him and said he was just five foot 11 but he proved it doesn't matter. We need him to grow, we need him to understand his role. Once he does that he can bring the rest of the back four with him and organise that line."[Source]