Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen disappointed to lose Belgium captaincy to Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany

The Gunners centre-back has endured long spells out with injury in recent years but was surprised to learn that coach Georges Leekens had removed the armband from him
Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen admits he is disappointed to have been replaced as captain of Belgium, a role now assumed by Manchester City’s Vincent Kompany.

The Gunners centre-back endured an injury-hit season last term but has returned to first-team action for his club and had assumed that he would be taking up the armband again for his national side under coach Georges Leekens.

“I still thought I was going to be captain,” the 25-year-old told skysports.com.

“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.”

National team manager Leekens refused to comment on the change of captaincy, but welcomed Vermaelen back into the fold.

“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,” he declared.

Nevertheless, Vermaelen is optimistic about Belgium’s future.

“We are clearly developing which is positive for everyone to see,” he added.

“Players like Steven Defour and Axel Witsel have now joined bigger clubs and have already got better.”

Both midfielders departed Belgian club Standard Liege in the summer for Portuguese sides, with Defour moving to Porto and Witsel to Benfica.