Blackpool boss Michael Appleton explains his decision to strip Marvin Ekpiteta of captaincy

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Michael Appleton believes Marvin Ekpiteta’s form has benefitted after being stripped of the Blackpool captaincy.
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Gary Madine was handed the armband in the absence of Chris Maxwell, who was injured, and Ekpiteta while the defender served a suspension.

Both players have since returned and yet Madine has stayed as skipper, something Appleton believes is getting the best out of the 32-year-old.

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When asked about his decision to take the armband off Ekpiteta, Appleton told The Gazette: “It’s taken you three games to ask me! I was waiting for you to ask me but I’m sure you were pre-occupied by talking about my situation with not clapping fans at Hull, but I forgive you anyway.

“I had a conversation with Marv and I told him I want to see the best version of him.

“I didn’t know if the armband was weighing on his shoulders a little bit, because it’s a lot of responsibility to be captain. It’s not just playing on the pitch, there are certain things that need to be organised off the pitch.

“We had a good chat and I told him ‘let me take it away from you for a while at least and you can concentrate on just playing well and showing me the version that everybody saw last season when he won the player of the year’.

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Ekpiteta started the season as Blackpool's club captainEkpiteta started the season as Blackpool's club captain
Ekpiteta started the season as Blackpool's club captain

“Touch wood, so far, it seems to have worked and with Gaz, he’s the alpha male in the group and he’s taken the responsibility of the armband on brilliantly. He’s led by example.

“I’ve spoken before about players hitting distances and GPS scores being higher than they ever were before and he’s certainly been one of those players and you can see what it means to him.

“He’s been magnificent and I even had a good chat with Chris as well to explain why I was doing what I was doing and he was as good as gold.

“Again, he’s produced a performance you would expect from him.”

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When asked how Ekpiteta took the news, Appleton said: “To be honest, and you will have to ask him the question himself rather than getting it from me, but I got the impression he was almost happy in a way to have the responsibility taken away from him so he could just relax and play.”