Boro boss Gareth Southgate feels Stewart Downing can develop into an effective leader. With regular skipper Emanuel Pogatetz suspended, the 24-year-old was handed the captain's armband for last Saturday's Premier League clash against West Brom.
"He is our longest-serving outfield player, and I think the responsibility is good for him in terms of growing as a person as well," said Southgate.
"We have got some leaders in the group, but we need more people to come forward as leaders, and he sometimes doesn't realise the impact he can have on the team. It's good experience for him."