Danny Cowley ready to spring Portsmouth captaincy surprise as he seeks to alternative skipper choice

Danny Cowley is ready to spring a Pompey surprise and look beyond the obvious for his team’s captain.

By Neil Allen
Friday, 2nd July 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Friday, 2nd July 2021, 7:10 am
Tom Naylor has been Pompey's skipper for the last two seasons. Picture: Joe Pepler
Tom Naylor has been Pompey's skipper for the last two seasons. Picture: Joe Pepler

For the last two seasons, Tom Naylor led the Blues, yet is now no longer present having been among the large-scale summer clear-out.

That leaves Lee Brown and newcomer Shaun Williams as candidates to pull on the armband next term.

Yet Cowley instead favours identifying untapped leadership potential within his playing squad and ‘dragging it out’.

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He told The News: ‘Our captain is going to be someone I can see some leadership quality in – and have to drag it out of them.

‘Shaun Williams doesn’t need an armband to captain the team, Lee Brown doesn’t need an armband to captain the team, Johnny Marquis doesn’t need an armband to captain the team.

‘I am going to find someone who I think I can draw out that leadership quality and become another leader. You cannot have enough leaders on the pitch.

‘I had this with Nicky (Cowley). He was our captain at Concord Rangers for the first two years and suddenly I thought “What a waste of the armband, he’s going to captain anyway”. You don’t need an armband to have responsibility.

‘So why not just give it to somebody else who I can actually get more leadership out of?

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‘That’s where I came to after maybe my third season as manager. Ever since I’ve lived by that.

‘Luke Waterfall at Lincoln wasn’t a leader, yet I thought I could sense it within him and drew it out. He thrived on the responsibility and improved his performance.

‘It gave the group an extra leader that maybe wouldn’t have been there without that added responsibility.’

In recent times, Brett Pitman, Gareth Evans, Naylor and Brown between them have largely served as Pompey skipper.

Meanwhile, Cowley has also stressed the importance of senior players establishing leadership away from the pitch.

The Blues’ head coach added: ‘We have a leadership group off the pitch – the senior players, the dads – they run the dressing room.

‘They set our values, this is what we are. These are the behaviours linked to the values and, once we agree with them, we are all happy with them.

‘Leadership positions are important roles, that’s why the senior players have to be A-star characters.’

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