How crucial is the captain's role?
Armbands are confusing. After all, when you are young they help to keep you afloat and yet fast forward a few years, and an armband, with its expectation and pressure, can weigh a footballer down. If you are given such a role and responsibility then you must sink or swim!
Alongside some of the burdens that a captaincy can press upon a player, there is of course much prestige, honour and hopefully enjoyment and success from being given such a role within a club.
If we associate being a skipper with all of these potential pitfalls and advantages, then it must be an important decision for a manager to make and with this in mind how does he come to identifying the right player for the job?
In some cases, or for some coaches it may be as simple as picking the most experienced or most talented player but for others the process will be given more thought.
In my view, the influence of a captain on the field can be exaggerated, as while inspiration will always be sought at difficult times, the onus should always be upon an individual player to provide his own motivation and commitment.
I am not dismissing any attributes a captain provides on the pitch as I believe consistency and reliability of performance are key factors in why a manger selects a certain player to fulfil that role.
It may also be the case that from the outside looking in, supporters expect their skipper to be the one who shouts the most during the game, and while communication is vital, the quality and significance of these messages are more important than the volume.
With regards to this ability to communicate on the pitch, it is interesting that most, if not all teams in the SPL have a captain who plays in a central position on the pitch, either at centre half or centre midfield.
This would suggest that managers believe that this is the best way for their messages to be relayed and the best way for his choice of player to be clearly visible to all on the pitch.
There are always exceptions to the rule, and indeed when I have captained St Mirren in the absence of John Potter I have done so from full back, with Darren Barr at times with Falkirk and Garry Hay at Kilmarnock doing the same.
I have never found it a hindrance to do the job from that area of the park, and yet it does seem that clubs seem to favour a centrally positioned captain.
There is some discussion over who Craig Levein will appoint as his leader for the first match of his tenure as Scotland manager.
Looking at the players he may be considering I think it is fair to say that we are in a healthy position with respect to the number of players who could comfortably and successfully occupy the role.
Darren Fletcher has been the man in possession of the armband and it would be no surprise if he was to continue with the responsibility as his talent, experience, temperament and desire make him an ideal player to fit a manager's captain criteria.
If others are considered, then Gary Caldwell, Stephen McManus and dare I say Barry Ferguson are players who have proven their capabilities as leaders on the pitch.
It should be pointed out that all the candidates I have suggested are central defenders or central midfielders - surely not a coincidence...