Aberdeen: Captaincy can improve Ryan Jack - Derek McInnes

Ryan Jack has replaced Russell Anderson as Aberdeen captain
Ryan Jack has replaced Russell Anderson as Aberdeen captain

Manager Derek McInnes believes being named Aberdeen captain can lead to Ryan Jack becoming a better player.

The 23-year-old midfielder has taken the armband following the retirement of Russell Anderson.

And Jack, who recently signed an extended contract at Pittodrie, will lead the side out for their first competitive game of the season against Shkendija on Thursday.

"I've no doubt he will deal with it," McInnes told BBC Sportsound.

"We have a few candidates for the role. We want to see him take the responsibility, it's more for his development."

Jack got the first taste of his new role in two pre-season friendlies last week; with wins over Brechin City and St Johnstone finalising the preparations ahead of the trip to Macedonia in the Europa League first qualifying round.

McInnes says the Dons "will take confidence from last season's exploits" when they travel to Skopje, with Rijeka of Croatia waiting in the second round should they progress.

Last year, Aberdeen beat Daugava Riga and Groningen, before losing out to Real Sociedad.

He said: "It's a tough tie. Any game at this stage of the season, there's a danger of not being game-ready. But, hopefully, we can play to our level and get through.

"Individually we have good players that can win games for us. The short break means there is no real deterioration in general fitness.

"We need to make sure we tighten up defensively, tighten up individually and find some sort of rhythm again."

Aberdeen defeated Dutch side Groningen in last season's Europa League
Aberdeen defeated Dutch side Groningen in last season's Europa League

McInnes, who himself recently signed a new deal, has added to his squad over summer, with defenders Graeme Shinnie and Paul Quinn recruited and Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward joining on loan for the season.

"We always want to strengthen," explained McInnes. "Shinnie was captain of Inverness last season, the same with Quinn at Ross County - these are boys who will want to play.

"They bring real competition places and put pressure on their team-mates.

"But that's what we want. We want a squad of 16, 17 players who all expect to play and we need to deal with that expectation.

"Although I'm confident we have a stronger squad than last year, we still have it all to do. Only performances will do that."

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