Four Hearts players in frame to be new captain with decision due today

Manager ready to pick a successor to Christophe Berra

Friday, 17th January 2020, 6:05 am
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 8:56 am
Hearts players will learn the identity of their new captain today

Craig Halkett, John Souttar, Michael Smith and Steven Naismith are the four Hearts players in contention to replace Christophe Berra as club captain.

Manager Daniel Stendel will name his new skipper on Friday in a meeting with the first-team squad and has narrowed the selection process down to four names.

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Centre-back Halkett took the armband against Aberdeen in the final game before the winter shutdown, but fellow defender Souttar was Hearts' vice-captain prior to Stendel's arrival. Full-back Smith and forward Naismith are also in the frame.

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Stendel has an idea who he will choose but has yet to tel the players ahead of Saturday's Scottish Cup fourth-round tie against Airdrie.

"I know it but the player doesn’t. I will tell him tomorrow," he said last night. "You can see at the moment we have some players who can be our skipper for the start of the season but I want to know the squad better.

"The big thing is I can say: 'You are the player but I have the feeling you cannot play tomorrow.’ Are you injured next week? Are you a player who can really play? For leadership and mentality, I think we have some.

"Craig Halkett was captain in the last game, Souttar is coming back from injury, Michael Smith, Steven Naismith. These are all types who can lead our team. I will speak to the players tomorrow."

Stendel said he is confident Halkett will overcome a knock to face Airdrie. "He had a small injury but I think there is no problem for Saturday," said the manager.