TOMMY Smith says being named Colchester United's new captain is an 'absolute privilege'.

The experienced centre-back has been given the skipper's armband by new head coach Hayden Mullins, for the forthcoming 2021-22 season.

Smith, 31, who signed a new contract with Colchester earlier this month which will keep him at the JobServe Community Stadium, started 45 of the club's 46 games in League Two, last season.

And the New Zealand international, who takes over the role from Harry Pell, says he is delighted to be handed the role.

He told the U's official website: "The Gaffer insinuated over the close season that he was going to trust me with the role and it's an absolute privilege to be handed the armband full time.

" I did it on a few occasions last season when Pelle, (Harry Pell), was out, but as I said, it's a real privilege to be the club's captain for real."

New boss Mullins had plenty of choices for the role of Colchester captain, for the forthcoming season.

The arrival of experienced players such as Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse gave the U's head coach plenty of options for the role.

Smith has got the nod and will now be Colchester's captain on a permanent basis, having taken the armband on a temporary basis on a number of occasions last season in the absence of Harry Pell.

The former Ipswich Town defender added: "With the group we have, looking after things on and off the pitch is going to be easier because the dressing room runs itself with the experience and leadership in there.

"We have a number of experienced players that I can lean on for help and who have been captains at other clubs so that will also make it an easier job for me.

"Every successful squad needs a group of leaders, not just one leader and we've certainly got that in different positions throughout the team and that only bodes well for us."