New Wales captain Aaron Ramsey has called being given the armband "the best moment of my career so far" - believing it to be an indication of how quickly fortunes can change in football.
The 20-year-old midfielder has spent the best part of the last year recovering from a horrendous broken leg, but will now lead out his country against England at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday.
"It just shows the highs and lows of football and how quickly things can turn around," Ramsey said. "I broke my leg just over a year ago now, and that was a really low occasion for me, but now this is the best moment of my career so far.
"It's obviously a very special moment for me - and my family. My mum and dad have driven many miles over time to help me to get where I am today so I'd like to thank them as well."
Ramsey was given the nod after a brief discussion with coach Gary Speed on Thursday, admitting that he was not expecting the appointment.
"It was a bit of a surprise, but a very nice one," he said. "Hopefully I can lead by example by the way I play. I'm not a screamer and a shouter but the way I play I hope to lead by example. But it's not just me, there'll be ten other captains out there."
Ramsey believes Wales can cause England problems in their Euro 2012 qualifier, even without the injured Gareth Bale.
"Obviously it's a massive loss, but we also have quality that can replace him and I'm sure the player who takes his place will do more than a good job," Ramsey noted. "We know as a team what we are capable of doing and we will go into the game thinking we can do something and get a positive result."
Ramsey could line up against Arsenal team-mate and fellow young tyro Jack Wilshere in the match in Cardiff, with Wilshere tipped to start for the Three Lions ahead of Frank Lampard in some quarters. Ramsey hinted there is a healthy rivalry between the two rising stars of British football.
"I haven't spoken to Jack this week, but obviously we spoke a bit about [the game] last week. Obviously if we're both playing I'll look forward to the task," he said.
"I'm trying to get back into the first team at Arsenal on a more regular basis, but Jack's done well this season. I want to win the game and he wants to win the game."
Ramsey also took some advice from Manchester United winger and former international captain Ryan Giggs, who visited the Welsh camp on Thursday to offer support and guidance.
"He just wished me all the best, and to take things in my stride," Ramsey noted. "[He said] just enjoy the occasion of being captain of your country.
"It definitely gives everyone a lift when you see a player who has achieved so much in the game come down to watch us and give us support."
Wales manager Gary Speed was full of praise for his young skipper and said he is ready for the challenge.
"His personality on the pitch is exceptional and everyone looks up to him. He was going to captain Wales one day, so why not now? He's got the respect of everyone."