Arsenal's Gilberto reveals bench frustrations

ARSENAL captain Gilberto Silva admits he has found it difficult to watch Arsene Wenger’s side storm to the top of the Barclays Premier League while he kicks his heels on the bench.

Gilberto has endured a frustrating start to the new campaign. With Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini in fine form in the centre of midfield, the Brazilian has been forced to wait for his chance to return to the side.

The midfielder, one of the Arsenal’s stalwarts last term, has started only four of the team’s 11 unbeaten games in the current campaign and just two in his established position in the centre.

The Brazilian, 31 on Sunday, missed much of pre-season because of his involvement in the Copa America but is determined to fight his way back into the side and insists he respects Wenger’s decisions.

Gilberto said: “It has been so frustrating. I am on the bench not because of quality but because I came back late.

“It is so hard. The only thing I need to do is do my job, respect the manager’s decision, respect the other players and the way they play at the moment.

“When I have the opportunity I want to do the best I can for the team but it’s a slight difference compared to other years. It is the first time I haven’t been in the team. It has been so hard for me.

“I want to come back and play again in my position in central midfield. You need to respect that Flamini and Cesc are playing very well.

“It is visible to everybody and I need to respect the manager’s decision. I will do my best to return to the team. I will see in the next few games what will happen.

“I’m the kind of player who accepts the bench. I respect everyone but in my mind it doesn’t work well. The only thing I can do is work. It is down to me to me to manage the situation.

“It is very difficult but it is important I keep calm and keep my mind very strong. I did all the things to get back in form and into the team. I’m feeling good.”

Meanwhile, the board of Arsenal Holdings have confirmed a positive meeting was held in London on Wednesday with Stan Kroenke.

A statement from Arsenal read: “The meeting falls in line with the club’s intention to maintain an open dialogue with large shareholders of Arsenal FC.”

It is understood the US billionaire is close to finalising a marketing agreement with the club. The Colorado Rapids, a Major League Soccer team owned by Kroenke, have enjoyed an unofficial link since earlier this year but a new deal is likely to be brokered shortly.

Kroenke was shown around the Emirates by managing director Keith Edelman yesterday on what was the American’s first visit to the club. Kroenke’s visit coincided with a number of business meetings in Europe.

He is set to return later his month for the NFL game between New York Giants and Miami Dolphins at Wembley on October 28 but is not expected to be at Arsenal’s AGM 10 days earlier.

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