After a couple of seasons to forget under Martin O’Neill, Nigel Reo-Coker has achieved a complete turnaround of fortunes under new manager Gerard Houllier. Since it was revealed that captain Stiliyan Petrov would be out for a number of months rather than weeks, Houllier has had to consider his options in selecting a new captain. A reported training ground bust up between MON and Reo-Coker had threatened to end the midfielder’s spell at the club but a string of tireless performances this term have seen him rewarded. It is thought that the 26-year-old’s main rivals for the role were centre backs Richard Dunne and James Collins but Houllier has opted for the Englishman who has skippered both of his previous clubs, MK Dons and West Ham. To top off the fantastic news for the player, the £8.5m signing has also seemingly earned himself a new contract with the club. With his current deal expiring next summer Houllier will be keen to thrash out new terms ASAP after praising the tenacious skipper.
“I don’t want to talk about the past. I don’t want to bother with that. Just from what I see, Nigel’s attitude and his work-rate has been consistent. In terms of performance, he knows exactly his role in the team. He works for the team and he has improved a lot, even over the last few games. Exemplarity is also a very important factor to me and that’s why he’s the captain. I hope he will stay with us.”
The manager also went on to express his enthusiasm to keep Reo-Coker on the Villa books. Assuming he will start tomorrow against Burnley, Reo-Coker’s first league game as captain will be the vital home derby with Birmingham. His spirit and work rate are examples which Houllier will no doubt be expecting the rest of the squad follow after failing to win in their last 3 games. Do you think Reo-Coker is the right man for the job and how do you rate the new captain’s form this season? If not who do you believe should have been given the armband ahead of a crucial run of games starting tomorrow night at Burnley?
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