Martin O’Neill’s decision to ban Gareth Barry from the start of pre-season training has left supporters wondering who might take the captain’s armband should Barry join Liverpool.
It seems that fans believe the battle to claim the armband could be a two-horse race. Former former England Under-21 star Nigel Reo-Coker was being tipped as the most likely contender with defender Curtis Davies also a front-runner, having captained his former club West Bromwich Albion when aged only 19.
Davies, who on his way back from a ruptured Achilles tendon, said that he was flattered by the link but also fairly certain that there may be one or two characters ahead of him in the queue.
While leading Villa out one day would be a dream come true, he would still be delighted if Barry said he was prepared to stay.
Davies, aged 23, who became a Villa player officially on Friday after signing a four-year deal following his season-long loan spell from The Hawthorns, said: “Gareth has not gone yet and I still stand by what I said that he would be the best signing Villa could make if they could keep him.
“But it is flattering to be linked with the Villa captaincy and it is a job I would be honoured to do. I was captain at West Bromwich Albion at 19 so I know I could do it. I do think, however, at Villa that it is a bit too soon for me to be linked with the captain’s armband should Gareth go.
“When you come to a new club like I have ,you need to be a regular first-team starter week in, week out to be captain. I may have been here for a season but I have still played only 12 games.
“It is not that I don’t command respect in the team – I think I do – but in myself I feel it is not the right time. At West Brom, I played every game and was there week in, week out so it was a different story. If I was ever to be given the armband in the future, I would wear it with pride and I would enjoy it.”
The central defender, who hopes to be back in contention for a place in the autumn, added: “I am still only 23 and obviously I have been a young captain. I was 19 when I first captained at The Hawthorns and that was a real honour.
“My first game as captain was at Old Trafford and as I was a Manchester United fan when I was growing up, it was a massive honour for me. I think at West Brom the vibe was different for me as a player. I was a bigger player at West Brom whereas here, although I have respect, I think there are still candidates ahead of me for the job.”
Davies has some sympathy for Barry, saying: “He hasn’t gone anywhere yet and so perhaps people need to lay off him a bit. Gareth is his own man and what Gareth does will be his decision. He will not have anyone tell him what to do. He will do, in the end, what he feels is the best for him and his family.”