Nov 22, 2008

Sports - Football;Gallas stripped of Arsenal captaincy;reports

LONDON (Reuters) - France defender William Gallas has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy after criticising his team mates, French media reported on Friday.

France Football magazine's website ( said Gallas had also been left out of the squad for Saturday's Premier League match at Manchester City.

Arsenal declined to comment on whether Gallas had been removed as club captain.

Gallas was quoted in Friday's British newspapers questioning the determination of some of the squad after Arsenal's inconsistent start to the season, which has already resulted in four league defeats.

He also referred to an incident at halftime during the recent 4-4 draw at home to Tottenham Hotspur and said on another occasion players had been insulted by an unnamed team mate.

"There was a problem at halftime of the 4-4 draw with Tottenham. The only thing that I could say at halftime was, 'Guys, we resolve these problems after the match, not at halftime'", Gallas was quoted as saying.

"When as captain some players come up to you and talk to you about a player... complaining about him... and then during the match you speak to this player and the player in question insults us, there comes a time where we can no longer comprehend how this can happen."

Referring to the club's poor form, which has included defeats by Hull City and Stoke City, two clubs promoted from the Championship (second division), the 31-year-old said: "We are not brave enough in battle.

"I think we need to be soldiers. To be champions, you have to play big matches every weekend and fight.

"We are coming up against teams who are not scared to play football against us, who are not scared to take us on at our place, and this is becoming dangerous for Arsenal."

In October, Gallas incurred the wrath of manager Arsene Wenger when he was photographed leaving a nightclub with a cigarette in his mouth.

"He has a responsibility as captain of Arsenal football club and that cannot be accepted," Wenger said at the time.

Gallas became club captain at the beginning of last season after Thierry Henry was sold to Barcelona.

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