LEE Peltier says he will give up the Leeds United captaincy without complaint if Brian McDermott chooses to replace him next season.
But the defender has told United’s manager that he wants to take the armband for a second year, admitting: “I’d be absolutely delighted to carry on.”
McDermott is still to offer any clarity on who will lead his squad during the 2013-14 term having hinted at a change but gone no further than saying: “I know what I want to do.”
Peltier, 26, was named as skipper by McDermott’s predecessor, Neil Warnock, shortly after joining Leeds from Leicester City last summer. He is still officially club captain at Elland Road.
The former Huddersfield Town right-back was an unexpected choice a year ago but he held the armband throughout the season, including three Championship games with McDermott as manager. A final decision from the new Leeds boss could yet be influenced by further signings in the transfer market but Peltier said he would accept McDermott’s ruling and was concentrating only on holding down a position in United’s starting line-up.
Asked if he was hopeful of retaining the armband, Peltier told the YEP: “That’s up to the manager, entirely up to him.
“I’d be more than happy to carry on as captain – I’d be absolutely delighted to be honest – but if the manager wants to pick his own man then I’ll accept that too. I’ll have no problem with him or whoever takes over.
“Things change when managers change and it might be that he thinks someone else would be better in the role. As long as the team are moving in the same direction I don’t think you should be arguing over something like the captaincy. The main thing I’m thinking about is getting a place in the team and staying there.
“I do want want to keep it (the armband), make no mistake, but what I’m saying is that I’m aware of the fact that the manager might have his own ideas.
“Being captain or not being captain won’t make any difference to my attitude or how committed I am. I’ll respect whatever decision he comes to.”
Peltier caught McDermott’s eye during Leeds’ pre-season tour of Slovenia, with the United manager describing him as “excellent” and “outstanding”. McDermott raised the possibility of Peltier featuring as a centre-back next season by assessing him in that role against Ferencvaros on Tuesday night and praising his performance.
Warnock signed Peltier – the most expensive recruit in the last summer transfer window – with the intention of using him at right-back but the unexpected breakthrough of Sam Byram saw Peltier used more often in a central role and on the left side of defence.
Speaking after a 1-0 defeat to Ferencvaros, McDermott said: “He was excellent tonight, he played really well. He can play that position for us, definitely.”
McDermott refused to comment on whether he still plans to bring another centre-back to the club to supplement the current pool of Peltier, Tom Lees, Jason Pearce and youngster Ross Killock. He has been linked this week with Gordon Greer, the Brighton defender and Scotland international. Peltier said: “I’m not really bothered where I’m playing as long as I’m playing.
“I do like to play as a right-back and I don’t think last season I got a proper opportunity to show what I can do there, within the style that the gaffer wanted. I’d say I’m an attacking full-back and this gaffer’s told me to go out and express myself in that position. I’ve done that so far.
“But he asked me to fill in at centre-back on Tuesday because he wanted to have a look at me. I’m happy to play there too and I just want a position in the team.
“All through my career I’ve played centre-back, right-back, midfield so I’ve never had a nailed-on position. For me it’s always been about playing and I adapt to whatever I’m asked to do. I’m really looking forward to the season and hopefully I’ll get a shirt for the starting XI.
“If that means moving around and doing a few different jobs then it’s not an issue. It’s probably easier to find your form and have a good season if you stay in one position right the way through but sometimes you have to be flexible. The main thing is having some input in the team.”
The scope for McDermott to use Peltier at centre-back on the first day of the Championship season might be limited by the slow recovery of Byram from a hip injury.
The 19-year-old – United’s player of the year for 2012-13 – has not made a pre-season appearance this summer and spent his time in Slovenia completing light training and running sessions while the rest of McDermott’s squad were building up the intensity of their work. Byram’s form kept Peltier out of his recognised position last season but Peltier said. “It’s unfortunate that he’s not fit. He’s a great prospect coming through. You saw last season what he did throughout and he picked up all the awards which was well deserved. But there’s competition here and I’ll be challenging him for that position.”
McDermott and his players travelled back from Slovenia yesterday to begin preparation for Saturday’s friendly at Walsall, one of three remaining summer fixtures.
United’s Championship game away to Reading has been moved to Wednesday, September 18 (kick-off 8pm) with Reading due to contest a televised match with Brighton on the previous Sunday.
Leeds have had a second fixture moved with their Championship clash at home to Birmingham now scheduled for 1.15pm on Sunday, October 20 be televised by Sky Sports.