When joining a new club and at the start of each season you will need to appoint a captain to lead your team on the pitch, as well as a vice-captain who will play as captain in his absence. You can also compile a list of stand-ins, in order of preference, who will play as captain when neither your captain nor vice-captain are playing.
Your selections can be made on the Captains tab of the Tactics screen and you can edit them at any time. Your assistant manager will also notify you shortly before the start of each season to select your club captain and vice-captain.
Responsibilities of a Captain
The main job of your captain is to lead and motivate your other players on the pitch. He also has an important part to play off the pitch in acting as a role model to his teammates and providing a communicational link between you and your squad.
As such, there are a few types of conversation that you can only have with your captain and vice-captain. These can be initiated from the Ambassadorial Duties sub-menu of each player’s Interaction drop-down. For example, you can ask your captain or vice captain:
- for his opinion on current team morale, which can assist you in deciding whether to hold a team meeting;
- to talk to a teammate who is currently unhappy;
- to resolve a conflict that has occurred between two teammates; and
- to welcome new signings, which can help them to settle at your club more quickly.
Choosing Your Captain
When deciding on a suitable player to be your captain you should consider the following factors:
- Squad status – Your captain should ideally be regular starter for your senior squad, with a squad status of either key player or first team, and should preferably have good current ability compared to the rest of your squad. Your players will be more likely to respect such a captain and will find it easier to motivate themselves to play under a captain who is selected in the team consistently. A high ability captain will also be less likely to lose his place in your team to another player and so it is less likely that you will need to choose a new captain in the near future.
- Age – Your captain should ideally be one of the more senior members of your squad, while it would also be beneficial if he has been at the club for at least a few years. However, if you have a particularly young squad with no senior players who would make a suitable captain then you may want to sign a new senior player who will be able to lead your team more capably.
- Attributes – Your captain should ideally have a good Leadership attribute. This will help him to lead and motivate his teammates more effectively. Good Determination would also be beneficial as it will ensure that he displays an inspirational attitude on the pitch and so provides a good example to his teammates. Similarly, good ratings for Bravery, Teamwork and Work Rate would be useful.
- Personality – Your captain should ideally have a positive personality so that he will display a good attitude on the pitch and be a suitable role model off the pitch, in particular one that has high Professionalism. It would be particularly beneficial if your captain has a similar personality to other players in your squad, and even more so if it is similar to the squad personality as shown on the General tab of the Club screen.
- Reputation – It is advantageous for your captain to have a high reputation relative to the other players in your squad. Your players will be more likely to respect such a captain. A player’s reputation can be seen on the Information section of his Overview tab.
- Relationships – It can be helpful if your captain is among the favoured personnel of other members of your squad or is mentioned as someone they think is a good player, although this is not essential. Again, your players will be more likely to respect such a captain. At any rate, you should not appoint a captain who is widely disliked. A player’s favoured personnel are included in his personal information on the Information section of his Overview tab. If a player thinks a teammate is a good player then this will be mentioned on the Happiness panel.
- Position – Although perhaps not of particularly high importance, the position your captain plays in will affect his ability to influence the different areas of the pitch. For example, a goalkeeper’s influence will be restricted to organising his defence, while a midfielder will have a greater influence on the whole team.
You should also consider the above factors when choosing your vice-captain and, to some extent, your stand-ins. However, for your stand-ins age and attributes are the most important factors.
Replacing Your Captain
When you join a new club it is likely that the captain under the previous manager will still be in place, unless he has recently left the club. However, he may not be the best available choice and you should consider the factors listed above to help you decide whether it would be beneficial for him to be replaced by an alternative player.
You may also want to change your captain further in to your time at a club, for example because you have signed a more suitable candidate or because your current captain is no longer one of your most important players.
If you do decide to replace your captain then he may become unhappy and it is possible that he will consider his future at the club. You should therefore talk to him first and explain why you are planning to remove him. This is done by selecting Warn Player then Warn About Removing as Captain from his Interaction drop-down. You will also be given the option to talk to him when your assistant reminds you to select your captain before the start of a new season. If he reacts well to the conversation then he will not become upset following his replacement. The blow for a player of being replaced as captain can be softened slightly by selecting him as the new vice-captain.
However, even if you do talk to the player first, some of his teammates may react badly if they believe the change was unjustified. You should therefore think very carefully about your decision and whether it is worth potentially upsetting your squad. In particular, players are more likely to react badly if they highly respect the replaced captain or if he is listed among their favoured personnel. It is therefore advisable to consider the squad status of your captain, his current ability and his reputation, in addition to checking for any relationships between players, before appointing a new captain.
To avoid causing potential unhappiness and bad reactions among your players you may want to appoint your desired new captain as your vice-captain instead, with a view to him becoming captain in the future when your current captain leaves the club or stops featuring as regularly for your team.
After changing your captain some of your players may initially struggle to find the motivation to play with the new incumbent. You will be informed of this on the Pre-Match panel on the Assistant’s Feedback screen, which can be accessed from the Analysis drop-down before or during a match. However, in time your players should get used to the new captain.