Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Who will captain United next season?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has identified a number of players who could be Manchester United club captain next season.

The boss, speaking in the embargoed section of his pre-match press conference on Friday morning, confirmed that he will need to find a new skipper as Antonio Valencia is set to leave Old Trafford after a 10-season stint with the Reds.

Valencia, our current club captain, has been plagued by injury during the campaign with Ashley Young, David De Gea, Paul Pogba and Chris Smalling all wearing the armband so far. Solskjaer says that there are plenty of viable alternatives in the squad who fit the criteria to fill the void that will be left by the Ecuadorian in the summer.

Antonio Valencia in action against Newcastle.
United's current club captain is Antonio Valencia who hasn't played for the Reds since 2 January.

“We’ll see who’s here for next season and I’ve got a couple of players in my head that could be captain,” he said. “We’ve had Antonio, he’s going, we’ve had Ashley, we’ve had Paul, we’ve had David, Chris has been captain, so there are players here who can be captain on the pitch.

”We just need to decide who’s the club captain. Who’s going to be the voice in and around [the place].

The boss also outlined the characteristics that he expects from a captain and the responsibilities that it will entail in terms of representing the club both on and off the pitch.

“There’s a certain criteria,” he affirmed. “They have to be one of the, how do you say, cultural architects if I put it in a nice word. It’s someone you have to look up to, someone who’s got the right habits, standards and the personality to be that.”

Ole believes that he saw the leadership qualities he desires from a number of his players in Wednesday night's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona.

Ashley Young.
Ashley Young has worn the captain's armband for 30 games in all competitions during the season.

Fred and Scott McTominay received the majority of the plaudits for the way they performed against in midweek, but the Norwegian expects to see the rest of the squad step up too with the race for the top four in the Premier League approaching its climax.

“We have a certain standard here,” he added. “You want to see players who step up and say: 'okay I want to be part of this'. You saw that with Fred and Scott the other day, they took the mantle.

”Of course, that’s what we expect from all of the players. When you're winning 5-0, or you’re 3-0 up, and you've won five games on the bounce, it’s easy to be a footballer, but sometimes it’s not always easy. You go through tough times, sometimes you’ll lose games and then your character is revealed.

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