PATRICE EVRA believes he must show leadership on and off the field after inheriting the Manchester United captaincy.
With Nemanja Vidic ruled out for the season and neither Ryan Giggs nor Rio Ferdinand considered fit enough to guarantee their place in Alex Ferguson's starting line-up, Evra has been handed the responsibility.
It has set the fiery France defender up for a stiff examination of his character at Anfield later this month when United head to Merseyside for their powderkeg FA Cup fourth-round clash.
Ferguson has already declared he has no issues about naming Evra in his side for their first tie with Liverpool since the storm erupted over Luis Suarez's comments to the former Monaco man, which landed the Reds striker with an eight-match ban.
And while Evra has deliberately steered away from the topic, he accepts being captain brings additional responsibility. "Of course I am proud," he said. "It is a privilege to be the captain of this team. But it is a big responsibility. You have to show the example on the pitch and out of it as well."
Evra has already captained United to one major honour, the 2010 Carling Cup final when the Red Devils came from behind to beat Aston Villa.
However, the 30-year-old realises leading them to a record 20th league championship would represent an altogether different achievement.
Saturday's 3-0 win over Bolton at Old Trafford got United back on track following successive defeats to Blackburn and Newcastle.
Yet Evra knows Manchester City will re-establish their three-point advantage if they beat Wigan tonight.
Not that Evra is happy speaking about their cross-city rivals.
While he recognises the talent Roberto Mancini has at his disposal, Evra is adamant United's chances of success lie inside their dressing room.
"It doesn't matter if City win, lose or draw. We have to be focused on what we do," he said.