Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Steve Cook – captain in waiting?

Steve Cook captained the side a few times last season when Simon Francis didn't play. It is possible that Cook is destined to be the future captain having signed an extended long-term contract at AFCB. But while Francis can retain his place in the side, it's clearly Howe's intention that the captaincy stays with Francis. This season could well see a change though, if Francis' form dips and a different centre-back pairing to Francis and Cook emerges. 
Steve Cook is well primed to be AFCB's next captain.
In the GD Estoril Praia and Portsmouth friendly matches, Adam Smith was rested and the right back position was filled by Ryan Fraser and Simon Francis in the main. It may be that Francis finds he is used as cover for the right back position a bit more this season, if Aké can make inroads into the starting line up at centre-half. But if Francis is on the bench at anytime, then Steve Cook is probably the man that will find he has to wear the captain's armband.
At what stage Howe decides a change in captaincy may be needed though is anyone's guess. If Francis retains his place and has another solid season, he will lead the team. There must be competition for every place, but I suspect that Francis' position will be under more threat than some other positions in the team.

Simon Francis, 32, is a battler and won't want to be overtaken though. He has done extremely well in the back four, but like all the other players in the squad he'll have to be on his game this season more than ever. AFCB could be entering a transition phase in its back four, but with so many centre-backs now competing for places, it does offer Howe the opportunity to go for a back three when it suits. This could even help Francis out.

Cherry Chimes' August's Newsletter brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month. It's out today with the special story - Afobe is reassured he has a big part to play.

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