Lee Johnson explains rationale behind decision as new Hibs captain is confirmed

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Hibs have confirmed their captain for the 2023/24 campaign, after David Marshall served as skipper last season.

Defensive stalwart Paul Hanlon will wear the armband this term as he embarks on his 17th season as an Easter Road player. Last season he was designated club captain, with Marshall named team captain following his arrival as a free agent following a spell with Queen’s Park Rangers.

Hanlon, who has made more than 530 appearances in green and white, captained the side during last week’s 2-1 friendly victory over Groningen at Easter Road. Footage of the 33-year-old mic’d up during the pre-season game with Europa in Marbella was released by the club as he talked his defensive colleagues through the game and communicated with players in other areas of the pitch.

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Speaking to the club’s website, manager Lee Johnson explained the thinking behind the decision to appoint Hanlon captain – and why the call wasn’t a slight on Marshall, who remains a key part of the first-team squad’s leadership structure.

A close-up of the Hibs captain's armband during a game. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS GroupA close-up of the Hibs captain's armband during a game. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS Group
A close-up of the Hibs captain's armband during a game. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS Group

“We made the decision to name Paul as our captain for the upcoming season due to his long-standing history with the club and his positional impact on the pitch. It’s clear for everyone to see that Paul is extremely trusted, that he has strong leadership and communication skills, and by playing in the centre of defence it allows him to get messages around the whole team quickly and effectively."

Johnson paid tribute to goalkeeper Marshall, who captained Hibs in virtually every game in all competitions last season. The only time he didn’t skipper the side was for the League Cup group defeat by Falkirk in July, when Lewis Stevenson took the armband in the absence of Hanlon and with Marshall on the bench and Kevin Dąbrowski handed a start in goals.

“I would like to thank Marsh for the role he did as captain last year and he still remains a key part of the leadership group,” Johnson continued. “He has extensive experience, is heavily respected in the dressing room, and those qualities will continue to help set the standard within the team. We have a number of players who show leadership skills and those guys, alongside Paul and Marsh, will play a vital role in helping to drive this group on.”

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