Former Liverpool defender has cast doubt over whether Paul Pogba has the right credentials to captain Manchester United next season.
And Nicol, when entertaining the idea of Pogba captaining United, was notably doubtful.
“I can’t make my mind up whether this is because he really is the only one that fits,” he said.
“People are looking to him to be the playmaker, they’re looking to him to score, they’re looking to him to defend.
“He had a lot on his plate last season. By the end of the year, it began to look as if that sort of pressure had gone from him. Maybe that’s why now people are talking about him being captain.
“I’m just not sure whether he’s ready for that. I’m not sure his game is in such a place that he can take on other things, other responsibilities.
“But as we started saying, is there anybody else? I really don’t think there is anybody else who would fit that mantle.”
What makes a good captain these days? Is it somebody who, in true Braveheart fashion, rallies his men with an inspirational cry towards victory and freedom?
Not under Jose Mourinho, I would contest. The Portuguese doesn’t invoke the commonly necessitated English idea of one leader bringing his men forward; he believes in the collective – everybody, not just one man, being responsible for taking the game by the scruff of the neck.
This is why having Antonio Valencia captain for the Europa League final worked – even if he cannot speak a word of English. The Ecuadorian’s attitude on the pitch crystallised in clear form the overall approach of this United side under Mourinho: direct, disciplined, indefatigable. And I would be more than happy to see more of the same next year.