As bold statements of intent, naming a nineteen-year-old as captain is certainly up there! All new managers want to shake things up and organise things their way, but picking Neil Taylor to wear the armband is a bold stroke. I like it, but it begs certain questions.
Firstly the positives. Taylor's a great lad, a very articulate young man and a fine prospect. It has bee apparent for a while that he's has an old head on young shoulders and he certainly has the attributes you'd look for in a skipper. Furthermore, his energetic approach epitomises the sort of qualities Saunders is looking to bring to the side, and I applaud that. I said a couple of weeks ago that we needed a more high energy approach, and I'm hopeful that Saunders is looking to provide exactly that. If he wants a captain on the pitch who will inject energy and desire into our performances, Taylor clearly is it!
There are certain questions to raise though. Firstly, is this a permanent move, or is the armband to be a moveable feast, passed from player to player as it was in pre-season? If it is it hardly says much for Brian Little's recruitment policy-if we have to play pass the parcel with the captaincy then he hardly packed the squad with leaders did he?
If Taylor is now the permanent team captain, I hope the decision has been carefully explained to the incumbent for the last two games, Nat Brown. Tom Kearney, being out of the side, won't need to have the situation explained to him, of course, but Brown certainly will; it would only be human nature to have your nose put out of joint if you were demoted in favour of a teenager, after all. Mind you, if Brown was just told that as he had led the side out last time he'd be skipper for a game while Saunders got to know his squad, then fair enough.
Clearly it's a gamble to pick a young lad as captain, and there is a nagged doubt in the back of my mind about his propensity to pick up knocks. However, as a clean break from the Little era it's a pretty effective gesture as Taylor certainly hasn't been a first team regular this season. Maybe that's the main reason why my gut feeling is this is a good move.