United boss Chris Beech has moved quickly once again to name his captain and vice-captain for the coming season with confirmation of the roles coming at the beginning of just the third full week of pre-season training.
Midfielder Callum Guy will take the captain’s armband with defender Aaron Hayden retaining his vice-captaincy, having been handed that responsibility last summer.
Guy, 24, joined the Blues during the January 2020 transfer window and has made 50 appearances for the club. His performances made him a firm favourite with the fans last season and he picked up six Player of the Year awards, including a divisional online vote held in June.
Hayden, also 24, has played 74 games for the Cumbrians - scoring eight goals long the way - having signed for the club following a successful trial spell ahead of the 2019/20 season. He grasped the opportunity given to him by manager Chris Beech in November of that year when he was elevated to the starting line-up when the new boss took post.
“I named our club captains early on in pre-season last year and I think it’s a prudent thing to do as we prepare for the new campaign,” Chris Beech explained.
“It allows the natural formation of leadership and support and let’s all of the lads get comfortable with our approach and will to win out on the pitch early in our preparations.
“Callum will be our club captain for this coming season with Aaron continuing his key role as vice-captain.
“Callum has been excellent for us and, for me, was one of the best central midfield players in the league last season.
“He’s also a player I see who wants more responsibility. He wants to be a leader. I also think it will make him raise his game, he’s passionate about this football club and relishes the responsibility that being the team captain carries.
“He’s a person who embodies that Cumbrian spirit, he’s a hard-working lad who wants to get on and be successful. He’s got a lovely young family and wants to do his best at home and when he’s at work with us.
“He jumped at the chance to lead the side last year when the opportunity presented itself, and I also like the advantages it brings our group with having his vocal influence in the middle of the pitch."
“It’s also important to have Aaron in his role,” he continued. “He’s another captain in my eyes, but having him sat in the heart of defence gives us that extra layer of leadership.
“Many people don’t realise that last season was Aaron’s first full season playing regularly in league football.
“He’s coming along leaps and bounds, which is testament to the hard work he puts in and also to the encouragement and support he shows to his teammates in training and on the pitch.”
“I’ve said this before, but really as a manager you want 11 captains on the pitch and we have some great characters in our group,” he concluded.
“Both players are highly respected amongst the other players and staff at the football club and it makes sense for these two to lead us through this season.
“I’d like our supporters to give them their full backing as we look to deliver that three-point feeling for them.”