International news

Vermaelen surprised to lose armband

November 9, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Thomas Vermaelen has revealed he was shocked to discover he is no longer the captain of Belgium.

Thomas Vermaelen
GettyImagesThomas Vermaelen was named Belgium skipper in 2009

Vermaelen has endured two lengthy spells on the sidelines through injury that have restricted his playing time for both Arsenal and his country Belgium.

Vermaelen was named skipper of Belgium in 2009 and had expected to wear the captain's armband once more upon his return to the international fold for the friendlies against Romania and France.

However, Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany, who also leads his club, will remain as skipper of Georges Leekens' team.

Vermaelen said: "I still thought I was going to be captain. I had not expected that, I found it a great honour to be captain of my country so of course I am disappointed that I will no longer carry the armband.

"Even though I was absent for a long time, I thought I would be his captain. I have not talked with Vincent about it, but I don't need to."

Leekens chose not to discuss the issue, but said: "I am very happy he is back, he remains the standard bearer of the national side and is one of seven or eight players that will lead the Red Devils ahead of the 2014 World Cup."