Donegal native Kyle Callan-McFadden has been named as captain of Sligo Rovers for the 2018 season, which starts with a home game against Limerick this Saturday at the Showgrounds.
The 22-year-old from Ramelton moved to Rovers last summer from Orlando City, establishing himself in the centre of defence, and went on to be voted player of the year by Rovers fans.
He captained Rovers for a number of matches in the middle of 2017 and has officially taken over the role, with Rhys McCabe as vice-captain.
Callan-McFadden said: “It took me a few games to find my feet at the start, but from there I think I did well and when Gerard came in, then in particular. He really helped me and grew my confidence.
“When there were a couple of injuries during the year, the gaffer handed me the armband and asked me to be captain. It was a big honour.
“I didn’t expect anything for this season but he called Rhys and in during the pre-season and told us.
“Right now, all the lads are driving each other, that’s the truth to be honest. Rhys is a great guy and he has that experience in a really high level. We know what a great player he is. As we count down to the first game, it’s all through the dressing-room, that drive, and to be captain of a club like Sligo Rovers is a great honour.
“I was captain at Norwich City at Under-21 level, underage teams with Ireland and at Orlando so I think managers see something there. At 22 to take over as captain here is something I take on with great determination. We want to have a much better season and show what we are about.”
McFadden made the decision to move to Sligo from Orlando after seeing the progress in the league and wanting to settle with his family closer to home. It is a decision he has not regretted.
“We wanted to come back and we’re happy here. I really love it and I want to be part of something big. We’ve worked very hard in this pre-season and Saturday has been a long time coming. There’ll be expectation, that expectation is on from ourselves, and we’re just itching to get out there.”
Saturday’s game with Limerick is the 3,000th for the club – as well as being the first game of the season. The club are aiming to get 3,000 fans to attend the match.
The new Rovers captain said: “Raff was telling us in the car on the way into train that when The Showgrounds is packed, it really rocks and we want to see that. We want all the fans to come out and to reward them because they have been great with us.”