Mark Hughes: I Have So Many Leaders At Manchester City

The Welshman is not short of candidates for the skipper's armband.

Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has revealed that it was not easy choosing a new captain following the departure of Richard Dunne to Aston Villa, simply because there are so many leaders in his squad.

Former Arsenal defender Kolo Toure has been handed the armband by the Welshman, but the responsibility will be passed on temporarily when the Ivorian leaves Eastlands, along with Togo's Emmanuel Adebayor, for the African Cup of Nations in January.

Who will deputise remains to be seen, but Hughes feels that Stephen Ireland will certainly be in the frame.

"There have been a number of guys who have shown really good leadership traits," Hughes told The Manchester Evening News.

"Nigel de Jong is very strong mentally, and you have to look at Vinny Kompany last year, and the manner of his performances. He is a good influence on the dressing room, and then we have Gareth Barry who has been a captain for a long time at Aston Villa.

"There were many, many candidates – Stevie [Ireland] really enjoyed having the armband back in pre-season and I am sure in future he will be a Manchester City captain.

"Craig Bellamy is captain of his international side, and Shay Given has captained his club and country. These are all people who could have taken it on. It's pleasing that we have so many characters and personalities in the group, all of whom could have taken the role."

But in Toure, Hughes is sure that he has chosen the right man for the job. City's boss explained: "Kolo took it [the armband] on readily, and right from the first game he became captain it felt right. It was about him understanding the role very quickly, which we knew he would do. The added responsibility doesn't diminish his abilities as a footballer – in fact, we feel it enhances it.

"He has all the attributes you need to be a good captain – great enthusiasm for the game, and is nice and vocal in the dressing room and before, during and after games. And he wants to drive the club forward.

"We are very lucky to now have that mentality in our dressing room with a lot of the lads, who could all carry the mantle of being a football team captain. But Kolo is the better option for us.

"You see those qualities from afar but until you work closely with a player you don't get inside the way he conducts himself, and how he is as a man and as a footballer. Having worked with him for a couple of months, he has shown good qualities on and off the field.

"In different dressing rooms, where there are not as many strong personalities, maybe you do need a captain of real vocal authority who will have a greater impact on the group. Kolo certainly has that quality, but our dressing room is packed full of strong characters, guys that want to win.

"There is an obligation for a captain, certain rituals in the game which are his responsibility, and which are important. But, truth be told, the qualities for which I am looking need to be shown by more than just one person, and we have that at the moment. That has been a big shift in that regard in comparison to the group of players we had last year."

Zack Wilson, UK

For more news on England, visit's England section!