Liverpool vice-captain Jordan Henderson accepts there is no guarantee he will take over the armband when Steven Gerrard leaves at the end of the season.
The England midfielder was appointed Gerrard’s deputy at the beginning of the season but he is taking for nothing for granted.
Manager Brendan Rodgers said last month it was “not necessarily the case” Henderson would automatically become captain next season and the 24-year-old is keeping his feet on the ground.
“Next season we’ll see what happens because it might not be me succeeding Stevie, it might be someone else,” he told the official Liverpool FC magazine.
“There are a lot of strong leaders in the dressing room. There are a lot of big characters in the team – down to earth, humble people.
“Mama (Sakho), Emre (Can) and Skrts (Martin Skrtel) have developed a strong collective understanding. You can see their passion, they’re desperate to win, they give everything.
“Studge (Daniel Sturridge) is a big character. Lucas (Leiva) is too. I can only do the current job the best I can.”
Since appointing Henderson Rodgers has urged him to learn as much as he can from Gerrard in his final season and the player has been paying close attention.
“Stevie’s the perfect captain really. He’s a leader on and off the field,” he added.
“He’s someone we all look up to. He always puts the team first. He’s very unselfish.
“When I became vice-captain, I tried to learn as much from him as I could.
“The thing I’ve probably learnt most from Stevie is the way he overcomes the disappointments. I think that defines you more than anything.
“I can relate to it. If I look back to my first season here, it wasn’t easy. But it made me stronger.
“I always think of losing the FA Cup (final to Chelsea) rather than winning the League Cup. Setbacks like that inspire you to want more – to progress and to win.”
Henderson is enjoying a profitable season on the pitch with five goals – one short of equalling his best-ever return – and 11 assists and believes he is becoming a more rounded footballer.
“When you play in different roles, your horizons broaden. You understand the game better. If you play in the middle of the park, you develop the mindset of players in other positions,” he said.
“If you’ve played on the right and are in the middle, you’re more likely to appreciate where the player on the right will be depending on where the ball is.
“It also means that you can encourage players in other positions to do the right thing. If you’ve been there yourself, your words tend to hold that bit more authority.
“In football now, I think you need to have the potential to play anywhere. Systems aren’t as rigid as they used to be and here at Liverpool ours involves a lot of movement. That helps the team to be a lot less predictable.”