Dean Smith has shed light on the moment he told Jack Grealish that he would captain Aston Villa for the first time.
The 23-year-old was skipper for his comeback against Derby County at the weekend, following his three-month lay-off with a shin injury.
The creative spark played a key part in the demolition of the Rams upon his return – having a hand in the opening goal before walloping a volley into the top corner to make it 4-0 before half-time.
And in his post-match interviews, Head Coach Smith lifted the lid on how he broke the big news to Grealish.
He said: “I told him on Friday. We were in the physio room with John McGinn and a couple of the medical staff for an hour and I asked, 'who should be captain?'
'“They were throwing a few names around, before I said to Jack, 'you're captain tomorrow'.
“He had a big smile on his face and it would have been a proud moment for him because, like myself, he's a Villa fan and was brought up a Villa fan.
"To captain your team and score a goal like he did topped off a great day.”
Expanding on why Grealish had the credentials to step up to the role after three months out, Smith admitted he'd been considering him in a leadership role since joining in October.
He added: "For me, it was quite an easy decision.
"I had no doubts about giving it to Jack. I knew it wouldn't be a burden to him and that he'd relish it – it's his club, he's a Villa fan.
"He's got a long-term contract at the club. When I came in, I said how I wanted him to lead us into the Premier League.
"I think he can do that. He's the future of this football club. He's got a long contract here.
"He's a really good professional as well, and I felt if I didn't give it to him it could be overlooking the leadership qualities I know he has.
"He leads by example anyway in the way he plays. I felt making him captain could enhance those qualities."