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Carry On Captain

Not, thankfullly, a camp cinema jolly-up set aboard a cruise ship, but an endorsement from Mark Hughes for Richard Dunne's leadership qualities as he announced Dunne's re-appointment as captain for the forthcoming season.

Said Hughes of Dunne:

"There was absolutely no reason for me to change the captaincy this season," said Hughes.

"It was important for me to understand Richard's situation when I arrived here and to get it resolved and now everyone is happy.

"I have been delighted with the response that Richard has made since he has signed.

"He has been part of this squad and this club for a long, long time and I felt it was important that we made sure he would continue to be a big part of things.

"The strength and the pace that he has at the back will be one of the keys to the way we play this year."
It caught me by surprise on reading the story as I'd not even countered the possibility of Dunne being replaced as captain. Looking at the squad as well there are not a host of stand out candidates you could envisage doing the job, although Hughes will have to find a temporary stand in for the opening pair of games due to Dunne's suspension.

It was also interesting to see Hughes mention that 'strength and pace...will be one of the keys to the way we play this year', ideal given the partnership of Dunne and Richards, but strange given that speculation regarding us signing Tal Ben Haim from Chelsea doesn't appear to be going away anytime soon.

I don't imagine Ben Haim would be too keen on swapping the stands at Stamford Bridge for the bench at Eastlands, so would his signing mean a move positional change for Micah Richards - moving him into central midfield to fulfill the 'Essien' style role that every club is seemingly scouring the world for?

Whilst I don't doubt he would do a job in that position - and there is a school of thought to suggest ultimately he will settle there, I don't think he would offer enough in terms of creativity that would be demanded from that position if we are to line up in a 4-4-2 formation.

I don't also see Hughes wanting to break up the partnership that despite the talents of Petrov and Elano was really the key for us last season and a big reason why we faded so badly last season when Richards lost form and then was sidelined through injury, but as we edge towards the season and the pre-season games come thick and fast we may well have a clearer idea.