Hill feels Steele can shoulder the ‘burden’ of captaincy

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BARNSLEY manager Keith Hill has revealed he decided to hand Luke Steele the captain’s armband because he felt his outfield players could not cope with the pressure of captaincy.

The Reds goalkeeper, brought in from the cold ahead of the game at Hull City on November 3, is the club’s third regular captain so far in 2012-13, with Jim McNulty and Scott Wiseman having also led out the side this term.

Boss Hill insists Steele has the mental resolve to cope with the role, which he believes has proved a ‘poisoned chalice’ this term.

Hill, who also confirmed that Mido is still not fit enough for first-team action, said: “The captaincy seems to be a poisoned chalice. Without being critical of anybody, and not the supporters, I just feel one or two other players are getting poisoned with personal criticism.

“I trust Luke Steele. He has got a massive standing within the football club. The supporters adore him.

“I believe he is strong enough to shoulder the burden because it can be one as well as a privilege.

“I feel as though I have made the right decision. I do not want to burden any other outfield player with the responsibility of being captain and being as scrutinised and criticised as heavily as one or two players have.

“When players are getting criticised and some are having to close Twitter accounts because of personal criticism and abuse, it is a sorry state, but indicative of football.

“Criticism hurts anybody, no matter who you are, whether it is personal or professional.”

While having no club rules regarding Twitter, Hill feels his players, and others, should be wary of using social media in modern-day society, mindful of the possibility of criticism.

He added: “Some people can shoulder and brush off criticism. I, for one, could do that as a player.

“But there are too many modern-day players who cannot respond in a positive way. When I was playing, you maybe got criticised on a match-day or in the players’ bar, but that was it.

“Now there are so many outlets. If you are not strong enough as a player to perform with the expectancy to be criticised, you should not be on internet websites, Twitter or Facebook, because it’s open access and 24/7 (time) to be criticised. Especially when you are losing.”

Meanwhile, new captain Steele, whose contract expires in June, admits he wants to pin his colours to the Oakwell mast and would like to sign a new deal.

Steele said: “I have no other ideas to leave or play for somebody else.

“I have been here for five years and am as happy now as I have ever been.

“If something happens soon, brilliant. I would love to stay at the club. That is my honest opinion, there is no hidden agenda there.”

Another player whose future is up in the air is top-scorer Craig Davies, out of contract next summer, and Hill admits other clubs will ‘probably’ bid for the former Chesterfield man in January.