He told the Evening Chronicle: "Natural leaders both on and off the field are not easy to find.
"It is probably not an issue, but I remember when I signed Jay-Jay Okocha the last thing on my mind was that this type of player would be my captain. But I have to say that in all my time as a manager, Jay-Jay is the best captain I have ever had.
"Not only did he lead on the field but also off the field.
"Mind you, the fact that he could actually speak four languages helped the squad we had at the time as he could communicate with players from Italy, France and Spain.
"As a result, the players used to listen and look up to him, and trying to find that sort of captain for Newcastle United will be very important in the next couple of weeks."