"Didier Drogba pointed out to me: 'You are captain of Arsenal, in the footsteps of Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Tony Adams. That's truly something'.
"I didn't fully grasp that at first - it took me a few months to totally absorb this status.
"Watching leaders like Laurent Blanc, John Terry and Marcel Desailly has taught me a lot. Two years ago I wouldn't have felt ready to be captain but now I do. I have to lead the team to victory.
"Directing the younger players comes first.
"I tell them to stay behind after training to work on their weak points and always to consider how lucky they are to be 20, 21 and at such a club.
"I don't overdo the advice generally. But my dressing-room team talk before kick-off is an important moment."