Joe Lewis is ready to follow in the footsteps of Aberdeen icons Bobby Clark and Jim Leighton after being handed the captain’s armband at Pittodrie.
The 31 year-old has been given the honour of succeeding departed skipper Graeme Shinnie and as he prepares for his first competitive match in the role against RoPS of Finland tonight the significance of his increased responsibility has not been lost on the goalkeeper.
Lewis said: “I’m very proud to be the captain of a club like Aberdeen, especially when you see the names who have been before you.
“We eat our lunch in the Captains’ Lounge so all the pictures on the wall tell the history of who has been captain here.
“So I will feel immensely proud to have my name associated with them. Obviously leadership and leading by example is something you have to do every day, not just on a Saturday.
“For the younger lads, they need to look up to the captain and the senior player to see how they should conduct themselves.
“You can’t just have one leader on the pitch, we have a few people who could have been captain and they will all help out.”
Lewis has played under several captains in his own career and acknowledges the role is normally reserved for outfield players but he believes there are several shotstoppers who have excelled in the role.
He said: “Being a goalkeeper means it’s a bit unusual to become captain of a club, but you have seen it before with Gianluigi Buffon and Manuel Neuer.
“It’s certainly a job I feel a keeper can do and although I’m aware that I won’t be in the thick of the action all the time, I can certainly use my influence from the back.
“It’s not all about on the pitch either, there are a lot of roles you have to take on away from the games.
“When I was at Cardiff Mark Hudson was someone we really looked up to on and off the pitch, he is one who stands out. Graeme Shinnie was always someone here who gave everything for the shirt.
“And when I got in the England squad all those years ago, it was David Beckham. He led by example, he didn’t take me aside when I joined up or anything like that but he did make sure everyone mixed and ate together.
“He would speak and although he was quite softly spoken, not a loud fella at all, but you could see from what he did on the pitch he dragged the team to victories.”
Dons boss Derek McInnes was not short on options for the vacant role but he believes Lewis has earned the chance to take on the senior role in the dressing room and on the pitch.
He said: “It is something that has been of huge interest and debate since Graeme left. I had a few options to consider and a few players that could be the captain but I think for Joe, Monday to Friday, he is a proper person around the place, well-respected by his team mates, plays every week, is really influential, brings a level of performance and professionalism and I have always wanted my goalkeepers to be a captain of their penalty box.
“The only thing going against a goalkeeper is that they can’t have that influence out of their box. You weigh all that up but he can still have that influence to keep the standards up and the culture we have set at the club.
“Joe is part of the old wave but well-respected by everybody at the club. He is very influential in the dressing room and in his box. The other thing was that when we were taking one or two blows about people leaving and not signing Joe was a real shot in the arm not only to me but everybody at the club when he committed to a new five year contract.
“That deserves recognition as well and it a brilliant option for us to be our captain. It won’t change Joe because he is already a big influence on everybody at the club.”