Vermaelen: I still have a future
Thomas Vermaelen insists he still has a future at Arsenal.
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The Belgian defender made his first Premier League start of the season for the Gunners in Sunday's 1-0 defeat at Manchester United.
It was a rare experience for Vermaelen, who has found himself squeezed out by the form of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny.
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has already assured Vermaelen of his place in his country's squad for next summer's World Cup Finals in Brazil.
Nevertheless, a lack of game time must be an obvious concern for the 27-year-old, who only got his chance at Old Trafford after Mertesacker went down with a stomach bug.
Yet Vermaelen is not ready to throw in the towel just yet, for he insists he still has a role to play with the north London outfit.
"I'm still confident I can play for this club," he said.
"I keep reading stories that I want to leave. But that's not the case. I'm still focused on the team.
"I am always positive.
"In any case, it is not about my situation. It's what the team do and I am really happy that we're top of the league."
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger refused to blame the bug, which also ruled out Tomas Rosicky and affected other members of his squad, for the defeat.
Instead Wenger claimed his side were too tentative in the early stages, when Robin van Persie once again scored against his former club, and did not benefit from the bounce of the ball when they finally got their act together after half-time.
Certainly Vermaelen did not feel his own late inclusion had a negative impact as he was fully prepared to play.
"It wasn't hard," he said. "I go into every game ready to play.
"I always make sure I'm mentally ready and physically ready to play, so it wasn't difficult.
"I knew it could happen at any moment so I'm always ready.
"I've been saying it for weeks and months and all of a sudden it happened."