Danny Houghton admits he will be ‘gutted’ if not given the opportunity to lead Hull FC into what he believes will be the next stage of a bright new era.
The 29-year-old hooker is the favourite to succeed Gareth Ellis as club captain at the Black and Whites, but is being made to wait on a decision to find out if he will be elevated from his vice-captain’s role.
Houghton played deputy to Ellis for five seasons before one of Super League’s greats retired at the end of last season and it is widely expected the 2016 Man of Steel will be handed the chance to captain his hometown club.
It’s an honour Houghton has made no secret he’d like to undertake. And while not actively pushing himself forward for the role, when asked about the possibility of succeeding Ellis, Houghton couldn’t hide his desire to win the role.
“It is probably something that you never dream of doing as a young kid but to be given the opportunity to lead my hometown club out, hopefully on some big stages as well, is something I would have to pinch myself about,” Houghton told the Mail.
“It will be a privilege and an absolute honour for me to lead this club if given the chance to. Such a big club too and one that is on the up.
“Nothing has been decided and probably won’t be until the next couple of weeks, but if I don’t get it I’ll be gutted.”
Head coach Lee Radford was keeping his cards close to his chest when pressed on the matter of his captain for 2018, insisting “I haven’t announced it yet. All the seniors are not back in as we’ve half of them on sick at the minute with the Australian flu.
“When we get them in we’ll talk about what we want to achieve as a group collectively. We’ll also discuss who we want to lead us around the field and who will be in our leadership group.”
After three captain’s in as many years at the start of the decade in Sean Long, Craig Fitzgibbon and Andy Lynch, Ellis brought a stability and new standard to the role, a steadiness which the appointment of Houghton would also bring given he’s under contract until the end of 2020.
While hopeful of wearing the captain’s armband for the opening Super League game against Huddersfield and then a week later for the ground-breaking league match with Wigan in Australia, Houghton knows he’s not the only option available to Radford with the likes of Scott Taylor, Mark Minichiello, Marc Sneyd and Sika Manu among the candidates.
“I’m sure there are a few contenders worthy for the job and it’s up to Radders,” added Houghton. “Whatever decision he makes I’ll support, but I’ll be throwing eggs at Radders’ windows if I don’t get it. I’m hoping he gives me the nod and I’ll be over the moon if I get it.”