Remi Garde’s first port of call - find a new captain

Aston Villa’s new manager will need to find leaders to head their survival challenge

New boss Remi Garde will know the size of his task at Aston Villa after watching their 3-1 defeat at Tottenham on Monday, which kept them rooted at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League.

Villa need a leader to help them claw their way out of danger and here we assess who could be Garde’s skipper at Villa ahead of his first game in charge against Manchester City on Sunday.

Micah Richards was Tim Sherwood's man, Gabby Agbonlahor got the nod on Monday night, there's some local lads about the place too - here are the five contenders:

Brad Guzan


Aside from the departed Christian Benteke and Fabian Delph the keeper has been Villa's most consistent performer over recent seasons. He has saved them countless points and helped keep their heads above the Barclays Premier League water. This season he has not been at his imperious best — a mistake in the 2-0 defeat to Chelsea gifted the hosts their first goal — but he has certainly not been alone. There has been precious little he could have done with most of the goals with Villa's porous defence parting in front of him. Guzan is certainly a contender and one of the players who has led by example and taken the pressure off the dressing room in public during the last few years.

Gabby Agbonlahor

The club’s longest-serving current player who has been at Villa Park since 2004 and he captained them at White Hart Lane. Questions, though, have been justifiably raised about his form and quality. He managed just eight touches of the ball in Monday’s 3-1 defeat to Tottenham — two from kick-offs — and was substituted at half-time to underline his lack of impact. He has skippered the side before and remains one of their most loyal players but the forward needs to focus on recapturing his form first before being given the chance to lead the team out again.

Micah Richards

Villa’s current captain and the likely favourite to retain it but his suspension against Tottenham on Monday saw it pass to Agbonlahor. It will be interesting to see whether the defender wins the armband back against former club Manchester City on Sunday. What could count against him are his actions following the 2-1 defeat to Swansea which triggered his ban. Richards failed to keep a cool head during the game when he clashed with Federico Fernandez and, at the final whistle, let his temper boil over in the tunnel. Villa need to keep their composure during their fight.

Joleon Lescott

He was supposed to be the man who plugged the gap in defence when he signed for his boyhood club in the summer. Instead, he has looked a shadow of the player who helped cement Everton as a top side and won the title with Manchester City. But there is no doubting his leadership qualities and he has the experience to help advise a squad which is chronically low on confidence following seven straight defeats. Villa need to see the real Joleon Lescott and giving him the captaincy could prove a masterstroke from Garde if it inspires Lescott and those around him.

Jack Grealish

A wildcard pick and perhaps unlikely but the 20-year-old could be a skipper in the making. His form has dipped recently and any talk of an England call up — now that he has declared his allegiance — should be miles away but Grealish has bonded with the fans. He is seen as their great hope and after coming through the academy ranks knows exactly what it means to be a supporter in these desperate times. The captaincy may come around to him eventually and Garde has nurtured young stars in France so Grealish could flourish under him but he will have to prove himself on the pitch first.