Freddie named as stand-in captain

Alan Curbishley has revealed that, in the absence of Lucas Neill, Freddie Ljungberg will take the captain's armband for our opening Barclays Premier League match of the season against Manchester City tomorrow.

After our newly-appointed Club Captain was ruled out of the clash against Sven-Goran Eriksson's team with a minor knee injury, the Hammers boss has confirmed that Freddie - who is already Sweden's national skipper - will lead the team out at Upton Park on his competitive debut for the Club.

"Obviously we have got a few contenders to take the armband," says Curbs. "We've got people here who have been captain of their clubs and one or two who have captained their country.

"In the end, I plumped for Freddie because he has been there, seen it and done it, and is the most experienced player in our side.

"I wanted to give it to someone who wouldn't see it as a pressure or allow it to impact on their performance. Freddie will take it in his stride and, as captain of Sweden, he knows what it is all about.

"He has eased his way into the squad since arriving," adds Curbs. "He is good with the lads and already a big part of it. We are looking forward to seeing him tomorrow, and I had no hesitation in naming him as captain."