Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen believes he still has an important role to play despite losing his place in Arsene Wenger's side.

The Belgium international is currently behind Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny in Arsenal's centre-back pecking order - despite still being Arsenal's club captain.

Vermaelen has started just one game for the Gunners' so far this season, playing the full 90 minutes against West Brom in the Capital One Cup.

Despite his recent absence from the Arsenal team, Vermaelen believes he still needs to lead the Premier League leaders away from the pitch.

Speaking to Arsenal's official website, Vermaelen said on his role as club captain: "I'm really proud to be captain and still so happy to be playing for this club.

"A great captain is somebody who wants to be a leader, not just on the pitch but on the training field as well.

"A great captain wants to set a good example to all their team-mates and help them in difficult times. That could be in a game or when they have difficult times individually."

Vermaelen, 27, expects to be back involved in the first team in the near future, with Arsenal facing a tough schedule in the next few months.

"That period [beginning of November] will be a hard time for us and really intense but that's why you come to play for a big club like Arsenal," added Vermaelen.

"You want to play in these kind of games so to get four of those games in 10 days is something to look forward to."

Premier League
Thomas Vermaelen