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Keane: I want four leaders

PUBLISHED: 21:37 15 July 2009 | UPDATED: 10:50 06 July 2010

GARETH McAuley may be starting as Ipswich Town captain next season - but manager Roy Keane is confident he has a group of natural leaders.

McAuley admitted at the end of last season that he was unsure as to whether he would retain the skipper's armband, but the Northern Ireland international started as captain in Ipswich's first pre-season friendly in Ireland last Tuesday.

GARETH McAuley may be starting as Ipswich Town captain next season - but manager Roy Keane is confident he has a group of natural leaders.

McAuley admitted at the end of last season that he was unsure as to whether he would retain the skipper's armband, but the Northern Ireland international started as captain in Ipswich's first pre-season friendly in Ireland last Tuesday.

David Norris took over his duties when McAuley was rested at half-time, but Keane says he will be looking for at least three or four natural leaders.

“What you find is that over the course of the season is that your leaders come forward,” said Keane.

“We've got some experienced players here but we need to see who is going to lead the group.

“Obviously we've got one or two younger players who need to be shown the way and through attitude, time keeping and the desire to win football matches, my leaders can do that.

“You have a captain, but you need three or four leaders and already I can see three or four coming to the forefront in that respect. That could play a big part for us next year.

“That's vital in sport and these days one of the biggest problems is there is not too many leaders out there.”

Speaking from Portugal on the club's final day of warm weather training in the Algarve, Keane added: “I've not thought too much about the captaincy. Gareth McAuley was captain when I came here and I don't see any reason to change that at this moment in time. And as I said, you need three or four big leaders anyway, both on and off the pitch.

“If the older lads come in and train hard then it sets the tone for the likes of young Connor (Wickham), Jordan (Rhodes) and Liam (Trotter). That's been hugely important for everyone on this trip.

“We're going to have our difficult moments next season and it will be about how we deal with those set backs.”

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