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‘The Machine’ is a top captain
THE role of a captain is an integral part of any team and it’s no different at Worcester City.
Following Scott Parker’s appointment as England skipper for last night’s friendly international against Holland, it brings the position into focus.
Although I don’t know Parker, just by looking at him you can see he’s very committed, has that will to win and players look up to him.
Those are important traits for any leader and both current incumbent Kevin O’Connor, and predecessor Ryan Clarke, have them at City.
Kevin is not a ranter and raver who grabs the game by the scruff of the neck, but leads by example and the way he plays the game.
He’s never frightened to have possession in any area of the pitch and when he loses the ball he’s the first trying to rectify his mistake.
Players look up to him and he gives his team-mates a boost.
I have been involved with footballers for many years and have seen hundreds, if not thousands, and Kevin is in a league of his own in terms of application.
He is the best trainer we have got at the club, and we have got a few excellent ones.
The others nickname him ‘The Machine’ because of his energy levels — everything he does is at match pace.
As a manager, I am reliant on a captain to sort things out on the pitch.
If we are playing a certain formation and it’s not quite working, the captain can implement any changes that I need to make.
Kevin also has a key role to play off the pitch, such as being involved in the fines system in the changing room.
Something like that can get overlooked but it is important and keeps the spirit going throughout the season.
Players are fined for petty things but it is good for morale and at the end of the campaign they get the money back by way of a night out.
Being captain, whether it be of your club or country, should also be a source of great pride.
I remember getting the captaincy at Worcester and I considered it a big honour. I was fortunate that I was skipper at every club I played at in my career — Alvechurch as a young player and also at Bromsgrove Rovers and Hinckley United.
It was a tag that got attached to me and it’s fair to say I tried to lead by example, not because of the ability I had on the ball but for my sheer determination and will to win.
I was different in that respect to Kevin and Ryan, who are both quiet and unassuming people, I certainly wasn’t afraid to tell someone if I wasn’t happy with what they were doing.