Howedes keen to remain Schalke captain

The Germany centre-back missed around a third of the club's Bundesliga games last term, but is confident that he still has what it takes to lead his team-mates on the field
Benedikt Howedes wants to remain as Schalke captain for the upcoming season, despite being plagued by injuries throughout the 2011-12 campaign.

The 24-year-old started just 22 games as the Gelsenkirchen club finished third in the Bundesliga, and despite making the Germany squad for Euro 2012, his suitability to lead the team has been called into question in recent weeks.

However, he remains confident that he is the right man to wear the armband.

"I am the current captain and I think I have done a good job. Of course, as a relatively young player you grow into such a role gradually, everything is not perfect overnight," Howedes told Kicker.

"We finished third in the league and reached the quarter-finals of the Europa League with me as captain.  This success already proves I have done a lot right.

"I am not a captain who shouts, but I talk a lot. I am the contact point, especially for the younger players, and of course a link to the coach."

However, general manager Horst Heldt did concede that Howedes could face competition for the captaincy, but backed the Haltern-born stopper's character.

"The decision for who is captain in the upcoming season will be the coach's. Standing now, however, Benedikt Howedes is our captain," Heldt told Der Westen.

"Bene has a mixed season behind him but that is mainly due to injuries. He has an impeccable character. Now we need to explore together how it can be better for the next season.

"Bene is an integral part here. Of course he is in a competition, but that is the same for our goalkeeper and midfielders too. Nevertheless he remains a leading figure."