Steven Naismith expects goalkeeper Craig Gordon to take over as captain at Hearts.
After helping the Jambos back to the Scottish Premiership last season, the former Scotland attacker retired at the age of 34 and was appointed player development manager at Tynecastle.
Naismith believes 38-year-old Gordon is an ideal replacement as skipper but says boss Robbie Neilson’s insistence on a leadership group within the dressing room is equally important.
Speaking as a McDonald’s Fun Football ambassador, Naismith told the PA news agency: “When I wasn’t playing or on the bench last year, it was big Craig Gordon (who would be captain) and that’s what I would expect to happen.
“I think he’s a natural to take over the armband officially.
“Outwith him you have some good pros who day to day in training will constantly drive the standards.
“John Souttar is one of them, Craig Halkett, you have Michael Smith, Liam Boyce – international players.
“Since coming in the manager always had that leadership group, not one or two, but four or five boys who would come to a decision on the key things the manager would want to make big calls on.
“The manager was very open with that and he liked that group, rather than an individual.
“There are a few who have come out of that group, myself, and Christophe Berra has moved on, so maybe as the season starts there may be one or two added to that.
“It is a gradual thing, one that is constantly moving.”
Naismith has come to terms with hanging up his boots to concentrate on the next step in his career.
He said: “It was a thing I thought about most days since January or February time. That’s when I thought this could be the year I finish.
“Since turning 30 I have had an eye on what I wanted to do when I finished.
“I came out of school and became a footballer and that was my life for the last 18 or 19 years.
“When I came to the decision I was very comfortable with it and, if I am honest, I was really interested in going into the coaching side of the game.”