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Howe: New boy Shackell is right man for armband
MANAGER Eddie Howe has labelled Jason Shackell a “natural leader” after naming him Burnley’s new captain.
The summer signing takes over from Chris McCann, after the midfielder spent a season in the role.
McCann became one of the youngest Clarets captains when he was given the armband last summer.
But Howe admitted that, after two seasons out through injury, and aged just 24 at the time, that level of responsibility may have come too soon for the youth team product.
And the Clarets boss sees Shackell as the natural successor, with the defender having captained both Barnsley and Derby County.
“Jason is a leader,” Howe said.
“We’ve seen that in training , and in the game he was a very, very good talker on the football pitch and off the pitch.
“I think he’s got everyone’s respect and he will lead the team.
“It’s no criticism of Chris at all.
“Chris is a fantastic player and a wonderful person as well.
“He’s a leader in his own right, but I just feel that it’s taken a bit of pressure off him and enables him to concentrate on his own game and being the player that we know he is.
“With Shacks I felt it was the right thing to do.
“He’s a natural leader, you can see that from the first day he came in.
“He’s got everyone’s respect here on the playing side, and I think you saw on Saturday what a good player he is.”
Shackell led the side in a 4-1 win over Altrincham in their first pre-season friendly, with McCann scoring the first goal at Moss Lane.
And Howe hopes it is a sign of things to come from the Dubliner now that he is able to focus more on his own game.
“I think Chris is an absolute top player,” said Howe.
“I don't think we played him in his best position at times last year. He does like to get forward, he is an attacking threat as we saw on Saturday with a lovely goal, and we just want Chris to concentrate on playing.
“It was a big responsibility that I gave him last year at such a young age, and after being out injured for two years.
“Perhaps looking at my decision perhaps it wasn't the right one. I take responsibility for that, not Chris.
“We just want to see Chris back to his very best, and I'm sure this year he will be.
He added: “We hold Chris in such high regard as a person and a player – it's not anything against him, it's just a case of trying to get the best out of him.”
But Howe hopes McCann's experience as skipper will help to encourage having 11 leaders on the pitch.
“I think it was one of our Achilles heels last year that we didn't have enough voices on the pitch,” he said.
“We are still very young, we've added Shacks to the experience in there and I think that will be vital for us. If we can have a few more voices and a few more leaders it does go a long way to making sure you're organised and harder to beat.”
He added: “Shacks will lead the group – along with Duffo (Michael Duff), and along with Chris, it's just that Shacks will have the armband.
“For me, there's not a lot in that, it's just that everyone sees he's the captain.”
* GOALKEEPER Brian Jensen missed Saturday's friendly after suffering a minor shoulder injury in training. Howe confirmed the Dane was rested as a precaution.
David Edgar, meanwhile, was not involved in the game as he returned to pre-season training 10 days after the rest of the squad. The Canadian defender's holiday was extended after being on international duty in the summer.
* KEITH Treacy has been called up to the Republic of Ireland's 23-man squad for their friendly against Serbia on August 15 in Belgrade.
* BURNLEY are set to welcome Portuguese youngsters Bernado Lopes of Benfica and David Viana of Atletico Madrid on trial this week.
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