Wenger: Mertesacker the natural choice

Arsene Wenger said Per Mertesacker was the natural choice for Arsenal captain after handing him the honour ahead of the club's opening Premier League match with Liverpool on Sunday.

The 31-year-old, who takes over from last season's captain Mikel Arteta, will have to wait to put on the armband, however, after he was ruled out of action until December following a knee injury sustained against Lens in pre-season.

Until he returns, one of Laurent Koscielny, Santi Cazorla or Petr Cech will take up the responsibility.

Speaking to the club's official website, Wenger said: "Per is a very respected figure in the dressing room, is loved as well and is also a very demanding figure. I think it is absolutely natural to be [him].

"[In his absence] that's where it will be taken by the assistants. One of them will be Koscielny, also Cazorla – the experienced players – Cech maybe.

"We will have a group of people that will take care of the energy levels and the problems of the team. That will be down a lot to the experienced players."

Jack Wilshere, meanwhile, believes Wenger has made the right choice in selecting the German World Cup winner to lead the team.

He said: "It is good news for us. For me anyway, over the last few seasons he has been like a captain.

"He is a natural leader and I know he has picked up a injury, but he can still bring so much to us as a team. I'm sure if you ask the other boys, they will say he would be an obvious choice for captain. We are happy."