Mark Milligan appears almost certain to receive the armband from Adrian Leijer, but who are the other contenders capable of accepting a leadership role in navy blue and white?
With Ange Postecoglou confirming Adrian Leijer will not captain Melbourne Victory in the 2013-14 A-League season, Goal Australia examines the candidates to wear the armband following the club stalwart's demotion.
Leijer had captained the club since Kevin Muscat's retirement in 2011, but has seen the position taken away from him by Postecoglou, with the 27-year-old occasionally shaky at the back last season, as he battled to adapt to the former Brisbane Roar coach's possession-based gameplan.
Postecoglou has claimed he doesn't want the defender to think about anything other than playing to the best of his ability in 2013-14.
However, with the coach acknowledging his interest in former Arsenal, Tottenham and France centre-back William Gallas, there are questions as to whether Leijer is part of Postecoglou's long-term plans for Victory.
Regardless of the reasons behind the decision, with the captaincy stripped from Leijer, Goal Australia takes a look at the players who will most likely be asked to skipper the Victory this season, as well as some rank outsiders.Mark Milligan
Last season's vice-captain is certainly the favourite to take over the role from Leijer considering his fantastic form in midfield for both club and country. Managing to retain Milligan's services for at least another season was a major coup for Victory, with newly promoted English Premier League side Crystal Palace seeking to pair him with fellow Socceroo Mile Jedinak. It's not Postecoglou's style to use the captaincy as an incentive or reward for staying at the club, but Milligan is still the most likely candidate to take over. Milligan has made 27 appearances for Victory since signing towards the end of the 2011-12 season and has scored eight goals.
|VICTORY'S POTENTIAL SKIPPERS
|Mark Milligan [2012-]
Archie Thompson [2005-]
Leigh Broxham [2006-]
Nathan Coe [2012-]
Scott Galloway [2013-]
Nick Ansell [2010-]
Mitch Nichols [2013-]
The marquee player is certainly a crowd favourite among the Victory faithful and is the side's most obvious attacking threat. However, Thompson's jocular nature will probably see him overlooked for the skipper's role. Thompson is also nearing the end of his professional career at 34 years old. Postecoglou may be looking for someone younger to captain his side in a bid to bring in the club's third championship. Thompson will always be remembered fondly by Victory fans, especially for his performance in the 2007 A-League Grand Final, when his five goals against bitter rivals Adelaide resulted in Victory destroying the Reds 6-0. Archie has made 160 appearances for the Victory, banging in 69 goals.
Having been with the Melbourne Victory his entire career, Broxham is a firm fan favourite due to his tough tackling and accurate passing. Broxham struggled initially under the tutelage of Postecoglou, but performed excellently when he was required to fill in at centre-back, and will be hopeful of spending more time in midfield this season following the departure of Billy Celeski. He scored only his second goal for Victory against the Brisbane Roar last season. Broxham has made 128 appearances for Victory since 2006.
The 29-year-old goalkeeper signed for the Victory in October 2012 on a three-year deal after shaky starts from Lawrence Thomas and Tando Velaphi. The former Internazionale, PSV and Copenhagen player has made 26 appearances for Postecoglou's side so far, recording five clean sheets and cementing his spot as first-choice keeper in the process. Coe has represented Australia at U-17 and U-20 level, as well as earning three caps for the Socceroos, and could be a contender for the captaincy.
If he is really looking to shake things up, Postecoglou could turn to a left-field candidate. Teenager Scott Galloway has wowed fans and his coaches alike since joining the club part-way through last season and already has leadership experience from his time captaining the AIS in the National Youth League.
Another young gun with a claim to the armband is promising 19-year-old Nick Ansell, who arguably outshone centre-back partner Leijer until injury ended his season in February.
Or Postecoglou could look at his ex-Roar stalwart Mitch Nichols, who is young enough to be a figurehead of the club for years to come, but would be a surprising choice in his first season in Melbourne.