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24th Apr 2019

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer discusses new captain candidates

Current captain Antonio Valencia is expected to leave Manchester United this summer

Darragh Murphy

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking for his own Roy Keane

Keane’s leadership of Manchester United during Solskjaer’s time as one of the club’s centre-forwards is the stuff of legend and Solskjaer now finds himself in desperate need of a leader to step up and take control of matters on the pitch.

United’s shortcomings in recent weeks could be put down to a lack of leadership in the squad and with Antonio Valencia almost certain to leave Old Trafford this summer, Solskjaer intends to choose United’s next captain wisely.

Facing his first full season as United manager, Solskjaer is looking for a “cultural architect” to take the team forward.

“We’ll see who’s here for next season. I’ve got a couple of players in my head that could be in the group of captaincy,” Solskjaer said, via Manchester Evening News.

“We’ve had Antonio, he’s going. We’ve had Ashley [Young], we’ve had Paul [Pogba] and David. Chris [Smalling] has been captain. There are players here who can be captain on the pitch. We just need to decide who’s going to be the voice in and around.

“There’s always certain criteria. He has to be one of the ‘cultural architects’, to put it in a nice word. Someone you look up to, someone with the right habits and standards and the personality to be that.”

Several United players held their hands up and apologised for Sunday’s humiliating defeat to Everton, with Nemanja Matic one of the most scathing in his assessment of his own performance.

Matic took responsibility for failing to convert his experience into a reaction on the Goodison Park pitch and his post-match comments were commended by his manager.

“That’s a big, big part of being a Man United player,” Solskjaer said. “You can deal with deal with the pressure and be a leader. Nemanja is a leader in his own sense.

“The proof is on the pitch. It’s got to be happening on the pitch. We’ve had some good meetings. There have been some words said – the truth – and there are players there who stand up and show they want to help take this club forward.”