WITH defender Rob Gier recuperating from a knee injury, the Philippine Azkals will turn to Phil Younghusband for leadership in their next two matches, including the crucial World Cup Qualifying duel with Uzbekistan on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old Younghusband, who was appointed captain last year when Gier was relegated to a substitute, said he’s gotten comfortable with his role for a side that has undergone several lineup changes in recent years.
Younghusband, Gier and Neil Etheridge are the remnants from the squad that stunned Vietnam in the 2010 Suzuki Cup which catapulted football back to the country’s consciousness.
As the team’s spiritual leader, Gier organized the defense while providing encouragement for a side known for its resilience.
But as Gier recovers from the injury he suffered in the match with Bahrain, Younghusband’s job now goes beyond scoring goals and providing the attacking threat at midfield.
It’s a role which he said should come naturally for him being the most capped player in the team with 72 matches for the PH team.
“I try to lead by example,” said Younghusband, who made his first senior appearance way back in 2006.
“I’m fortunate to have teammates who always know … what needs to be done for the team to be successful.”
Coach Thomas Dooley described the attacking midfielder as an “outstanding player.”
“He has the qualities of a good leader and I think he is the right man to be the captain.”