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Thomas Vermaelen became the first Arsenal captain to lift a major title in the last nine years. This was despite the Belgian international not playing much football in recent seasons. The centre back partnership of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny has been preferred by Arsenal winger this season. This coupled with his contract situation meant that Vermaelen has been heavily linked with a move away from the club in recent months. He did extremely well to put speculation out of his career and lift the FA Cup after a 3-2 win over Hull city.
Despite this victory, the 27-year-old’s future at the club is still in doubt and he has been linked with clubs in Spain and Italy. This is primarily to protect his interests with the national team. Owing to intense competition, his place in the Belgian national team is under threat. However, he appears to be heading to the World Cup 2014 as one of the perfect players for the national team. Vermaelen says that he is just concentrating on the task ahead – to get Belgium to the latter stages of the competition.
Vermaelen is likely to partner Vincent Kompany at the back for Belgium, who are regarded as the most talented squad outside the usual favourites like Brazil and Spain.
“I’ve a lot of experience of sitting on the bench then coming back so I’m not worried about being match fit. There is still plenty of preparation time for the World Cup and I will have the chance to play in a few friendly games before the tournament starts. A lot of people are talking about this Belgian team and wondering how we will do in Brazil. We are stepping into unknown territory. Only one player in our squad has experience of it,” said Vermaelen ahead of the World Cup.