Fernandinho will be Manchester City’s captain for the 2020-21 season, manager Pep Guardiola has confirmed.
David Silva took the armband after the departure of long-serving skipper Vincent Kompany last season before the Spain playmaker opted to call time on his decade-long stay at the Etihad Stadium.
It means the responsibility will now be passed to Fernandinho, another stalwart of City’s modern era, after the 35-year-old was voted captain by his team-mates and other members of staff.
“He will be good [as a leader], as he always has been since I met him,” Guardiola said of the Brazil international who joined City from Shakhtar Donetsk for £30million in 2013 and is out of contract next June.
“It doesn’t matter [whether or not Fernandinho has] the armband, he is always a guy who leads in the bad moments.
“We decided in the locker room, the players, the backroom staff, we decided that Fernandinho is captain and I am more than delighted with that.”
A versatile performer across midfield throughout his career, Fernandinho reverted to centre-back last season and looks well-placed to retain that role in City’s Premier League season opener at Wolves on Monday.
Aymeric Laporte only returned to training on Friday after a positive coronavirus test and is short of match fitness.
Guardiola did bolster his central defensive options with the £40m capture of Nathan Ake from Bournemouth but attempts to recruit Kalidou Koulibaly have stalled.
A report from Marca over the weekend claimed City were looking to Sevilla’s Jules Kounde as an alternative and the Europa League winners had rejected an opening bid of £51.7m.
Irrespective of the position in which he adds to 314 appearances across all competitions for City, Fernandinho’s role as a guiding influence to youngsters like Phil Foden could also be key.
Foden is aiming to build on a breakthrough campaign last time around but badly undermined his preparations for the new season when he broke coronavirus protocols while on international duty with England in Iceland and was sent home in disgrace.
Manchester United youngster Mason Greenwood also erred alongside Foden, with the duo entertaining women at England’s team hotel in breach of strict self-isolation rules.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer went on the offensive last week, questioning England’s handling on Greenwood at a time when he was physically and mentally fatigued.
However, Guardiola believes Foden should simply learn from an error of judgement for which he has must accept responsibility.
“I am pretty sure Phil is going to make a good season,” he said. “He knows he made a mistake.
— Man City Report (@cityreport_) September 20, 2020
“If every one of us put the same high expectations on ourselves as we put on others, our society would be better.
“Look to what you have done in the past when you demand things of other ones and stick to what you have to do.”