Daniel Agger intends to combine his experience as Denmark skipper with close observation of Reds talisman Steven Gerrard as he starts his reign as Liverpool’s new vice-captain.
After a summer spent deliberating on who should replace the retired Jamie Carragher in the role, manager Brendan Rodgers appointed the center-back at the beginning of August.
“His loyalty and his passion for Liverpool is second to none,” the Northern Irishman commented when explaining his choice of a player who is approaching the eighth anniversary since arriving at Anfield.
Now the 28-year-old is determined to build on the lessons he has learned while wearing the Danish armband by analyzing the work of a man he considers to be “the best” example.
Asked for his reaction to being named Gerrard’s deputy, Agger told Liverpoolfc.com: “It’s a difficult feeling to describe.
“Not many people have the success to become a professional footballer and not many people get the vice-captaincy, so that’s a big, big thing for me, of course. But it’s so difficult to describe.
“I always have responsibility, no matter if you’re vice-captain or not. You have to always be there, always be at the front and, of course, try to help some of the young players.
“Now I have been here for almost eight years and Stevie has been the captain all the way. He is an amazing captain: he is the one I will look at.
“Not only in his football skills, because that speaks for itself, but the person he is and the way he treats people — he’s just the best.”
Following the retirement of Carragher and Pepe Reina‘s loan switch to Napoli, Agger automatically became the second-longest serving Liverpool player still in the dressing room.
So does the defender feel an extra sense of responsibility as the Reds launch their 2013-14 Barclays Premier League campaign?
“It’s the same in every single football team, in every single job — when somebody goes, somebody new has to take over,” the No. 5 continued. “It has been like that forever. So there’s nothing new there. Over the years, the players have changed a lot.
“So, of course, when you stay at one club for so long you become one of the senior players — even though it’s a difficult word to say because I still feel the same as eight years ago.”
Agger has worn the armband for his country for more than a year and believes his experience of taking charge at international level will inform his new position with the Reds.
“When I play for Denmark and I’m the captain for Denmark, I’ve learned a lot in the last 10 years of my career,” he said. “I’m trying to take the best part of all the good things, also from Stevie, and put it together in the way I want to do it. I think that’s the best way to describe that.
“It’s the biggest thing you can achieve at international level, being captain of your country. Every time I put that armband on, it makes me proud.
“You learn something all the time and when you put that armband on, something happens to you. It’s difficult to describe but it’s a good thing.”
Rodgers recently shed light on the commitment Agger has afforded the club since the boss took charge during the summer of 2012, rejecting outside overtures to remain at Anfield.
The defender pointed to the support his teammates received on tour last month as an example of Liverpool’s appeal and pledged to use the memory as inspiration in the coming years.
“I’ve said it so many times; I like it here, my family like it here. Not only the football but also living here — we fit in here and that’s important for me as well,” Agger added.
“Take the tour to Asia this summer — that shows how big a club this is. You could say we haven’t been good enough in the last couple of years to achieve what we want to.
“But that’s definitely something I will try to help to change, because this club belongs at the top.
“Every time we’ve been there, everywhere we travel, it’s the same. We feel welcome. The amount of people who were there was unbelievable, especially when you consider how we haven’t performed in the last couple of years. You have to respect that, that’s huge.”