HAWTHORN captain Luke Hodge has endorsed young midfielder Liam Shiels as a candidate to succeed him as skipper if he continues to lead the Hawks until his playing days are finished.
Hodge, who last week told AFL.com.au he had no plan to hand over the captaincy while he was playing, was joined by vice-captain Jarryd Roughead in identifying Shiels as a future leader of the club.
At 23, Shiels would likely be considered too young to take over the captaincy if the Hawks made a switch for the 2015 season, with vice captains Roughead, 27, and Jordan Lewis, 28, the obvious candidates.
However, Hodge believes he can play on for at least "a few more years" after turning 30 on Sunday and plans to captain the Hawks "as long as the club wants me to". 
"[If we made a change] at this stage, we'd probably look at Jordan Lewis or Jarryd Roughead," Hodge told Talking Footy on Monday night. 
"But if I'm going to go a couple more years, depending what way the club wants to go, then Liam Shiels is another one who stands out." 
Hodge, who also identified defender Ben Stratton as a young player with very strong leadership skills, took over the captaincy after teammate Sam Mitchell stepped down at the end of 2010.
He was backed up by Roughead on Monday night, who told Fox Footy's On the Couch that Shiels, Isaac Smith and Cyril Rioli were already "very good leaders".
"You'd like to think that over the years they'll develop into great leaders," he said.  
Shiels has played 89 games since being recruited with pick No.34 in the 2008 NAB AFL Draft, missing five games this season because of a shoulder injury.  
The young midfielder has been used as a run-with player at times but is becoming a prominent ball-winner himself, averaging 22 possessions this season.
He is ranked No.1 at the club for average tackles with 5.7 a game this season.