Joey Barton says ex-Brentford boss and current Aston Villa manager Dean Smith's attitude towards captaincy inspired midweek change

Joey Barton explained that former Brentford boss and current Aston Villa manager Dean Smith’s attitude towards captaincy inspired his decision to make a change at Coventry.

Thursday, 14th March 2019, 10:41 am
Updated Thursday, 14th March 2019, 10:53 am
Joey Barton

But Ched Evans, who took the armband on Tuesday, is not guaranteed to keep it for Saturday’s Plymouth game.Club vice-captain Ash Eastham had taken on the top job since injury ruled out Craig Morgan last month.Barton opted for Evans instead in midweek and said plans to share the captaincy around to breed leadership.He pointed to Smith’s decision last August not to replace John Egan with a new Brentford captain for 2018-19 and instead use a leadership group.Smith departed for Aston Villa in October and has continued the same policy. Jack Grealish became his latest captain for the past two games and Smith sees the armband as beneficial to the 23-year-old’s development.Barton says his aim is to find out who can be leaders next season and he did not rule out another change of captain this weekend.Asked how Eastham took the decision, Barton said: “I just explained to him what the thinking was behind it. He is a superb team man and I expect them all to lead, not whoever has a piece of cotton stuck around their arm.“I will probably share that between now and the end of the season. We need to find who can be the leader.“The captaincy next season will change. It is not set in stone.“I saw Brentford do it earlier on in the season and thought it was a really good idea. But we had Craig Morgan, a senior player. I did want to share it throughout the team because they are all leaders in their own right.“Paddy Madden has been captain on occasion, Ash Eastham, Morgs and Ched on Tuesday night. For me it is a case of leading through performances. All of your players should step up and lead.”Back in August Smith (left) said: “I think there needs to be a collective responsibility around leadership within football.“What better opportunity for us to try to develop leaders this year by not having a captain? The players can name somebody to go and toss the coin each game and start taking responsibility as a group. “I know for a fact I’ve got five or six players I could have named captain this season and I think it’s probably unfair that I name one out of those five or six. The job of a leader within the group is to help create other leaders and not followers.“I think sometimes when you name a captain, he becomes that leader and people start to follow him rather than become leaders themselves.”

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