United front for new leaders

Adelaide United has appointed Travis Dodd and Lucas Pantelis as its leaders for the 2008/09 Hyundai A-League season.

Adelaide United has appointed Travis Dodd and Lucas Pantelis as its leaders for the 2008/09 Hyundai A-League season.

Dodd replaces veteran defender Michael Valkanis who has recently comeback from a serious knee injury.

In June, Valkanis made it clear he wanted to lead the club again but in a change of heart decided to relinquish the role after being told he'd be starting the year in the youth league.

Coach Aurelio Vidmar said it was the right move for the club.

"He's put the best interests of all the team and Adelaide United before any individual interests so for that we commend him," he said.

"We had to have a discussion with Michael first, to see where his mind was, and after several discussions with Michael it became very simple."

"You need to have a certainty that your captain is going to be on the park and with Michael we knew he needed at least four to six games (in the youth league)."

Dodd said he was honoured and comfortable with his appointment despite ousting his long-time team-mate.

"We had a chat about it earlier and it's unfortunate circumstances the way that it has come around. Mickey holds no grudges towards me and unfortunately it's one of those things that happens in football," he said.

"We are good mates and that will continue to happen with us as friends and we'll just get on with it."

"I think when Mickey comes back as well and he's playing regularly then it will be strange to be having the armband and I guess him following me out."

Dodd, who wears No.13 on his back, will be hoping for better luck than the club's previous captains. Ross Aloisi left the team after the Reds' grand final loss to Melbourne Victory while Valkanis injured his knee after leading just a handful of games.

Last season's caretaker skipper Paul Agostino didn't fare much better after suffering a range of niggling injuries.

Dodd said he was optimistic he'd have a better run than the previous leaders.

"I'm not into the superstitious stuff so I think a couple of the guys said we've gone eight or nine games undefeated and I've been captain for those so talking about those things doesn't bother me," he said.

"I'm confident that I'll be able to stay healthy and see out the season."

The 28-year-old plans to be more 'vocal' this year but said he won't be changing his game too much.

"If anything it will make me aware that I need to work harder, stay involved in the game a lot more which I think has been a bit of a problem in the past," he said.

"Hopefully extra responsibility this year will improve my game even more."

Vidmar said the leadership appointments provided a long-term positive for the club.

"These are the type of people we want to lead the club in the future. I can't see why they can't be here for many more years to come," he said.

Pantelis' appointment as vice-captain is more of a surprise but the 26-year-old was confident he had something to offer to the group; including the squad's more experienced recruits.

"I've been playing in Australia now for close to eight years in the top flight and they've played their soccer abroad. But we get along really well, we are always talking about the game of football and I'm sure we'll pass on different advice," Pantelis said.