Jack Ross opens up on his Sunderland captaincy call and has clear message on Grant Leadbitter's role

Jack Ross insists that Grant Leadbitter has a major part to play on the pitch this season after naming him his new Sunderland captain.

Tuesday, 6th August 2019, 06:00 am
Updated Monday, 5th August 2019, 14:28 pm
Jack Ross says Grant Leadbitter has a massive role to play on the pitch this season

Leadbitter missed out on the starting XI last Saturday, with Dylan McGeouch and George Dobson preferred in the middle of the park for the 1-1 draw with Oxford United.

Afterwards, Ross confirmed that the experienced midfielder would take over from George Honeyman, who last week joined Hull City.

The Black Cats boss had discussed the potential of splitting the captaincy role in the aftermath of that deal, but was clear on Saturday that Leadbitter’s role was not an ambassadorial one.

“It was not done for sentimental reasons or because it seemed like the obvious fit, I have got to know him over the last six months and obviously he has a real feel for the football club but how he conducts himself on and off the pitch is very much in alignment with how I do things,” Ross said.

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“So for me I was delighted he wanted to take it, because players don't always want to accept it, and that is key.

“We had a conversation and he was more than happy to take on that responsibility. As I mentioned, I have not given him that role for it to be an ambassador type role, if you like. He is captain and he will play a lot of games for us and fulfil that role on the pitch.”

Jon McLaughlin wore the armband on Saturday, while Ross has a number of players in his squad who took on the role at some stage last season.

Aiden McGeady and Max Power did it, while George Dobson, Glenn Loovens and Jack Baldwin have done it elsewhere.

Leadbitter has been given the nod and Ross believes he will set the perfect example for young players coming through.

“He has experience,” Ross said.

“We have seen young players playing today and he understands what it takes as a young player to play here and also make a career out of the game at a good level.

“Even today how he is around the dressing room he is good, and a credit to himself from that respect.”