Fowler to lead Fury
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Former England striker Robbie Fowler will skipper North Queensland Fury through their historic debut A-League season.

Coach Ian Ferguson has shown a change of heart to hand Fowler the armband and name Robbie Middleby as vice-captain. Ferguson has always maintained he would not burden his marquee man with any further responsibility.

"I didn't want to put extra pressure on Robbie," Ferguson said. "I wanted him to come here and enjoy being the marquee player but the boy's shown great qualities I've been impressed.

"He's only played three games and even when he wasn't playing he was still showing those leadership qualities I was looking for. When results weren't going too well he was getting around about the boys and geeing them up and giving them good advice, and that's what changed my mind."

As soon as he came here his intentions were good. No players come here for a holiday,
North Queensland coach Ian Ferguson.

Since arriving in North Queensland, Fowler has been plagued by injury, criticism of his physique and speculation over his commitment to North Queensland. "Even if I didn't make Robbie captain, he's always been committed to the club," insisted Ferguson. "As soon as he came here his intentions were good. No players come here for a holiday."

Having played at the game's top level during his sparkling career, 34-year-old Fowler said the appointment had put no extra weight on his shoulders. "To be named as captain of this brand new franchise, it's a great honour, it's a great achievement in my eyes," he said. "I came over here primarily to play football and this is a great bonus.

"I've played football for a living. It's what I love doing and as far as I'm concerned there's no pressure on me. There's no pressure on any of our players - we're all here to enjoy the football and we all want to do as well as we can."