Today’s friendly at Altrincham pretty much confirms that Jason Shackell will be named captain for this season.
Shackell led the Burnley team out wearing the captain’s armband at Moss Lane – despite Chris McCann’s presence in the starting line-up.
The captaincy appeared to affect McCann’s game last season and Eddie Howe talked up Shackell’s strong leadership attributes after completing the signing earlier this month, hinting that he felt we missed such a character last term in the process.
“Adding another leader into the pack was crucial for us and I think we’ve done that now,” he said.
It’s a role Shackell, one of our most experienced player at the age of 28, is experienced in. He was appointed captain of Barnsley upon joining the Tykes in 2010, incidentally to release former captain and ex-Claret Stephen Foster to concentrate on his own game.
No Nay Never’s Jamie Smith anticipated a similar change at Turf Moor: “Shackell could be the ideal man to take over [the captaincy],” he wrote earlier this month.
“McCann would be free to concentrate on his own game and getting back to the dominant box-to-box midfielder that was one of the best in the division at his best. Shackell will be the organiser we need in the defence.”
It’s early days – and against limited opposition – but McCann’s started post-captaincy life well, notching the first goal of the 2012 pre-season campaign to put the Clarets 1-0 up today at Altincham.
Danny Ings made it 2-0 and Charlie Austin added a third, before Alty nicked one back in the second half. Austin headed a late fourth from Keith Treacy’s cross to complete a satisfying afternoon.
More than 1,000 fans were at Altrincham for the game.
Of course nothing has been confirmed by the Club – yet – but we expect Eddie to be asked about the captaincy post-match.
Is this the right move for McCann and the team? Comment below.