26 July 2023

Lee Johnson thinks David Marshall will benefit from losing Hibernian captaincy

26 July 2023

Hibernian manager Lee Johnson believes standing David Marshall down as captain will suit the goalkeeper as well as the team.

Paul Hanlon has been restored as Hibs captain after Marshall wore the armband in Johnson’s first season in charge.

The 38-year-old faces fresh competition for the gloves with former Swindon keeper JoJo Wollacott, who joined on a three-year deal this summer.

But Johnson confirmed that Marshall would start in goal on Thursday when Hibs face Inter Club d’Escaldes in the first leg of the Europa Conference League second qualifying round in Andorra.

Johnson added: “It allows Marsh to concentrate on that goalkeeping battle.

“One of the big things is positionally on the pitch, you are trying to get information to players and it’s not easy to go by your captain when he’s in goal and 50-60 yards away.

“When I came through the door, don’t forget, Paul Hanlon was injured. I didn’t know anybody and at that point David Marshall was probably the only one in the squad I could guarantee would play.

“Marsh is a leader anyway, that’s a factor in this after having a discussion with Marsh.

“And also both ways, Marsh is also taking on an awful lot in terms of his future. He is doing a sporting directorship, he is doing his coaching badges as well, and being captain of a football club like this takes an awful lot of time up.

“You’d be surprised, just the little things like arranging the bonuses, the tickets, all that type of stuff, is a really important factor.”

Hanlon has played 535 times for Hibs and sits fifth on the club’s all time appearance holders list.

“With Paul having been here a while, it probably suits him best this season,” Johnson added.

“It’s clear for everyone to see that Paul is extremely trusted, that he has strong leadership and communication skills, and by playing in the centre of defence it allows him to get messages around the whole team quickly and effectively.”

Hanlon is one of several players Johnson has been mining for information ahead of his own European debut.

“I will have to lean on the experience of the boys,” the former Sunderland manager said.

“I have had a lot of conversations with the lads that have played in these European games because I didn’t play in European competition and nor have I managed in that.

“You can do all the work in the world in terms of studying the opposition but inevitably experience is always welcome. I don’t feel like we are short of it, the lads are well versed in foreign competition.”

Johnson revealed Martin Boyle would be on the bench in Andorra in a “cheerleading” capacity and would not feature as he continues his comeback from a serious knee injury.

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