Chris Baird has spoken of his astonishment at being named Northern Ireland captain for Wednesday's Euro 2008 qualifier against Liechtenstein.

The Fulham defender, 25, will wear the armband as Aaron Hughes - his team-mate at Craven Cottage - is sidelined through injury.

Baird is enjoying an upturn in fortunes in domestic and international football after securing a move to Craven Cottage in the summer from Southampton.

In an interview with Downtown Radio, he said: "I thought it would go to Maik Taylor or David Healy, one of the more experienced and older players.

"But the manager took me to one side and told me he wanted to make me captain for this game.

"I was delighted to hear that and accepted his offer."