Chris Smalling and Phil Jones in line for Manchester United captaincy

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Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs has hinted that manager Louis van Gaal might not hand the captaincy to either Robin van Persie or Wayne Rooney this summer. The Welshman, who brought an end to his glittering playing career at the end of last season, revealed that the armband could he given to an unexpected member of the squad.

Giggs mentioned three defensive players in contention to receive the captain’s armband: Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans.

Giggs: The quotes

Speaking ahead of United’s first US Tour fixture against LA Galaxy, Giggs was quoted by the Daily Star as saying: “It always matters who the captain is. It's a tremendous honour. Not many people get to captain Manchester United, so whoever it will be, it will be a tremendous honour.

“It's one of the things we discussed first when I met Louis.

“Obviously, with the leaving of the experienced players, it's one of the decisions we are prioritising.

“The decision hasn't been made yet. Louis is still getting to know the players. He's still trying to see their qualities.

“The likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans, maybe a player like that will thrive from it, take charge and come out of their shell.”

Related links

Robin van Persie poised for Manchester United captaincy
Robin van Persie should not captain Manchester United - Andy Cole
Manchester United: Van Gaal gives next captain hint

Are they captaincy material?

It’s generally accepted that Van Persie and Rooney are the two best candidates to replace Nemanja Vidic as Manchester United’s permanent captain. Van Persie was appointed captain of the Netherlands by Van Gaal last year - a role he flourished in - while Rooney has captained United and England on a handful of occasions.

It would, therefore, be a shock if Van Gaal hands the armband to either Jones, Smalling or Evans. But after losing influential centre-back duo Rio Ferdinand and Vidic this summer, Van Gaal and Giggs will be determined to bring the best out of the defensive trio.

Could one of them be sold?

There has been much speculation surrounding the future of Smalling, who is reportedly wanted by Arsenal, while Jones was also linked with a move to the Gunners this week.

But Giggs’ latest comments indicate that Van Gaal plans to keep all three centre-backs at the club. Might this be a sign that the veteran Dutch coach intends on playing three at the back next season?

Van Gaal is also working hard to secure the services of at least one more quality central defender. Arsenal’s Thomas Vermaelen is the player most likely to come to Old Trafford, although the Red Devils would love to bring Mats Hummels to Manchester from Borussia Dortmund - a significant bid for the German World Cup winner has already been submitted.

Watch: Chris Smalling in action

Van Gaal set to take charge of United for first time

On Wednesday night (US time) - early hours of the morning for those in Britain - Manchester United will play their very first match under Van Gaal, against LA Galaxy.

There is much intrigue about how Van Gaal will set his side up, while close attention will also be paid to debutants Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw.

United fans: will your side win this evening? Give us your score predictions by leaving a comment in the box below.

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Jonny Evans
Manchester United
Chris Smalling
Premier League
Phil Jones

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