Gary Neville will no longer be Manchester United’s on-pitch captain after Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed he is assigning the job to someone who can be relied upon to play more regularly.
Neville has been United captain for five years, replacing Roy Keane after the Irishman left the Old Trafford outfit back in 2005.
However, despite Neville starting United’s last game, a 3-3 Premier League draw against Everton, he was not named skipper for the match, with Nemanja Vidic chosen to lead the team out instead.
And Ferguson has now admitted that, while Neville will remain club captain, the duties of team captain will be passed on to a more regular first-team player.
"Gary is still club captain but I have been looking for someone who is going to be playing consistently every week," said the Red Devils' manager.
"Over the last two or three years we have had to pass the baton along the line a few times. We have not had a consistent captain because Gary's injuries have prevented him playing all the time.
"If he was available all the time he would be the captain. He would have been on Saturday. But I have to look at the overall picture. With all due respect to Gary's time at United, he knows and I know, we don't play him every week and I am looking for someone who does [play]."
It may have come as a surprise to United fans to see Vidic wear the armband for game against Everton with Neville also present on the field.
But Neville, who is 35 and has suffered a series of bad injuries in recent years, has accepted the decision with good grace.
"It is a great honour but it has never been the major priority for me," Neville said.
By Jonathan Fadugba