HEAD COACH Thomas Christiansen has asked his Leeds United squad to select their own captain - with the chosen one being unveiled shortly before Sunday’s Championship opener at Bolton Wanderers.
Midfielder Liam Bridcutt ended last season with the skipper’s armband, but failed to hold down a regular place in the team last season and now faces even more competition in midfield after the arrival of Polish international Mateusz Klich.
Centre-back Liam Cooper had often captained the Whites in Bridcutt’s absence but Cooper also faces stiff competition to line up at centre-back from Pontus Jansson and new Everton loanee Matthew Pennington.
Jansson, though, is suspended for United’s first two games of the season with the Swede missing both Bolton and next Wednesday night’s first round Carabao Cup clash with Port Vale at Elland Road.
Jansson, Chris Wood and a rejuvenated Eunan O’Kane have all been touted as potential new captains but Christiansen says his side have “several” on-field leaders captains.
Christiansen said: “I believe the captain is something or somebody who has to be picked by the players.
It’s easy to go out and say ‘you will be the captain’ but I want a captain who is respected by the players and who is one that the other players look up to and is somebody who is a leader.Thomas Christiansen
“For me, it’s easy to go out and say ‘you will be the captain’ but I want a captain who is respected by the players and one that the other players look up to and somebody who is a leader.
“I said to the players that they had to choose the ones that they want to represent the team in front of me, in front of the board and they have made their choice.
“We have several captains in the team but you will see it on Sunday as in the XI that will play there will be a captain there.”
O’Kane was earlier asked if he would accept the captain’s armband should it be offered to him.
“Of course,” said the Republic Of Ireland international.
“This is a huge club and anyone who gets the opportunity to captain the team, it should be a huge honour for them and that’s all I can say.
“I don’t expect it to come my way but if it does I will be greatly honoured and do the best job that I can.”
Christiansen has no injury worries whatsoever for Sunday’s season opener and Jansson will be the only absentee through suspension.