As predicted by The Tilehurst End last week our new Republic of Ireland international was named Club Captain for the 2015/16 season and realistically, probably beyond.
Whilst Clarke took his own sweet time (as we now know is his modus operandi!) in naming Paul as our leader it comes as no surprise that he was earmarked for the role from the moment he and Steve met over the summer in Dublin. Certainly over the last few seasons we have been woefully 'misled' by those on the field. The amount of times we went a goal behind it was palpable that a natural leader was not present to pick up the pieces and spur the team on to pull back a victory from the jaws of defeat. With my stat head on, I can't think of many times we looked capable of turning over a losing position into a winning one.
Steve Clarke clearly knows what he wants from his general.
"He was a big signing for us – he is a leader and has a lot of great qualities. He leads by example on and off the pitch and that’s what we want from a player."
It's very clear from this quote alone that the boss wishes to embed a certain type of culture with in the club. Whilst we all believe our boys to be fine upstanding members of the community I'm sure Clarke is ready to ensure that McShane can and does lead by example.
"I will just be myself – I’m not one for giving Braveheart-style speeches or anything gimmicky! But I’ll lead through example on the pitch and lead through my behaviour on and off the pitch."
Quotes like that should not be taken as mere soundbites from a new signing; this is a proper Professional in the true sense of the word.
When we think about captains from teams of the past we know what to expect from them - and nothing less will do. Luminaries as Hicks, Parkinson, Williams, Murty all exuded that grit and determination that inspired their fellow teammates to dig in and not just rollover and get slaughtered.
Hicks, lifting the Simod Cup - a minor miracle in itself. Parkinson, running himself into the ground for his club. Williams, taunting and mocking strikers. Murty, effort, pride and endless energy. They all displayed different traits and the 'personalities' of being a captain.
In a squad that currently does not have the depth of experience of years gone by, McShane's experience of working under Alex Ferguson and an International for Ireland will not go amiss. The squad should feed off his experience as their aren't many that have the qualities we need for a successful captain, that much has been abundantly clear.
As will be a motto of this season, it will take time. Paul will be learning about the team, the manager and even how to be a captain to an extent; how his captaincy will take shape will be something we will all watch with interest.
Quotes courtesy of Get Reading.