Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher has been replaced by Michael Carrick as the Red Devils’ vice-captain.
The Scotland international was named as United’s deputy skipper behind Wayne Rooney at the start of the season, but has played just 49 minutes since the end of August.
Carrick, who joined Manchester United from Tottenham in 2006, has been promoted to second-in-command, with Fletcher now the club’s third captain.
"I have three captains," Louis van Gaal told reporters on Friday. "You have a sequence: Wayne Rooney is one, Carrick is two, Fletcher three."
The Manchester United manager went on to explain the reasons behind his decision to select Carrick as the club’s new vice-captain, rather than any of his teammates.
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"He brings a lot of experience but also a lot of composure," said the Dutchman. "He can transfer my philosophy on to the pitch."
Van Gaal also revealed that he still prefers to see Carrick in central midfield instead of central defence, where he has played recently in the absence of Daley Blind.
He added: “Now we don't have Daley Blind, when I choose Carrick in defence, I miss him in midfield."
Fletcher's Manchester United future
Van Gaal’s decision to strip Fletcher of the vice-captaincy plunges the 30-year-old’s Manchester United into serious doubt.
It was reported last week that the Red Devils would be prepared to sell the midfielder in the New Year - provided the right club come in with a satisfactory offer - and this latest development suggests a move away from Old Trafford is a distinct possibility.
Robin van Persie snubbed - again
Questions will also be asked about why Van Gaal decided to overlook Robin van Persie for the Manchester United vice-captaincy.
The Dutch striker was Van Gaal’s captain during their time working together with the Netherlands national team - and the veteran coach has often repeated that the former Arsenal skipper shares the same footballing philosophy as himself.
Van Persie was tipped to become Manchester United’s permanent captain in the summer, following the departure of Nemanja Vidic, but Van Gaal surprised many by handing the armband to Rooney instead.
It’s possible that Van Gaal believes Van Persie is not suitable for the role at this point in his career because he only joined Manchester United two years ago.
But the striker may see things differently.