Belfast Telegraph

Jeffrey hails Linfield’s Captain Marvel Gault

By Keith Bailie

Linfield manager David Jeffrey believes he made an inspired choice in selecting Michael Gault to replace legendary Linfield defender Noel Bailie as captain.

Jeffrey said: “At the start of the season I thought I had made a good decision — now I think I'm allowed to say I made an inspired decision.

“Michael still has more to learn as a skipper, but so far I am immensely proud of him. He still has to develop — but my goodness gracious me — so far he has done superbly well.”

Michael Gault is still on a high from picking up the Gibson Cup for the Blues at the weekend, after a fine first season as Linfield's skipper.

Gault said: “It was a great feeling to get my hands on my first trophy as captain and I want to try and pick up another on Saturday.

“It's great opportunity for us to win another trophy, but Crusaders have been fantastic in the cup competitions this season so we know we're in for a very tough game.”

The Linfield captain will be coming up against another one of the Irish League's finest midfielders Chris Morrow, in Saturday's show-piece cup final.

Morrow and Gault are no strangers to each-other, and the Linfield midfielder knows Saturday will be another fierce encounter.

Gault said: “They've a lot of quality in midfield, in particular Chris Morrow. Chris and I have had plenty of battles and Saturday will be no different.

“He's one of the best players in the league, but they've other good players in the middle like Aidy Watson and Declan Caddell who scored against us last year.”

Gault had big boots to fill, in replacing Linfield's all time leading appearance holder Noel Bailie, but Jeffrey believes that Gault has all the qualities to become a legendary leader in his own right.

Jeffrey said: “We had the legend that was Noel Bailie, who was without doubt the best Linfield player of my generation, and not just because of his longevity, but also because of his immense quality.

“When I was looking for a new club captain I was looking for a number of qualities.

“Your captain has to be a quality player, he has to be someone who you trust implicitly, he has to give his all, he has to have the respect of his fellow players and he has to never accept second best.

“Michael Gault has all of those qualities.”

David Jeffrey puts a weight of expectation upon his captain, and so far Michael Gault has lived up to those expectations.

The manager added: “He's the perfect age because he has plenty of years left but he has also been at the club for long enough to know the club's expectations.

“The most difficult part of being a Linfield captain is maintaining your own performance whilst also meeting the club's expectations as a club captain.

“Michael has my expectations on his shoulders, he has his fellow players expectations, he has the fans expectations and he also has outsiders expectations — and so far Michael has lived up to all these challenges.”

Gault's next challenge is to help guide Linfield to Irish Cup success over Crusaders on Saturday.

While he might have a long way to go to match Noel Bailie — a first season double will be a fine start for Linfield's new captain.

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