Sheffield's Joe Root has dismissed Ricky Ponting's suggestions that he has looked like a "little boy" leading England in this winter's Ashes.
Root acknowledges the former Australia captain's entitlement to his opinion, but points out Ponting has no inside-track on happenings inside the touring squad.
The South Yorkshireman, who has also confirmed "feisty" Tom Curran will make his debut in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, insists he will continue to lead England as he sees fit and in a manner true to himself.
Ponting caused a stir between Tests, after England lost the Ashes with a crushing innings defeat in Perth last week, when he depicted Root as a "little boy" who needs to "step up big time" and has little respect from his own squad.
Root said: "He's entitled to his opinion, but he doesn't spend any time in our dressing-room or around the squad.
"I'm obviously going to disagree with that.
"I'm sure if you asked any of the guys in the camp, the coaches or support staff or players, they would back me up on that."
Root is confident he is more than capable of taking a firm hand if necessary.
"I don't think I go about things as a 'little boy', for sure," he added.
"I have my own way of doing things - I think it's important you don't try to be something you're not.
"I know there are occasions where you might have to be quite strong in front of the group.
"I may not appear to do that out on the field. But there are certainly times when I know that I can do that, and I have done that."
Seam-bowling all-rounder Curran, meanwhile, will replaced the injured Craig Overton in Melbourne.
Asked the reasons Curran got the nod, Root said: "Tom offers a lot - he's a real competitor.
"He's always wanting to get in the contest, and you know you're always going to get absolutely everything out of him.
"He's also very skilful."
The 22-year-old is the South Africa-born son of the late former Zimbabwe, Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire all-rounder Kevin Curran.
Root added: "He's a feisty character.
"He does get the ball to move around a little bit, and he's always in there in the contest.
"That's one thing that really stands out to me, that he will at no point hide away from any challenge.
"If it does become very hard he'll give it absolutely everything. It's a great chance for him."
Others were in the equation, notably uncapped leg-spinner Mason Crane.
Root said: "It wasn't an easy decision ... it was a close call.
"Sometimes as a captain, you have to go with your gut, and he's what's really hit home with me this week."
As for England's dismal fortunes so far on this tour, their captain reports they are in the mood to bounce back - even though the urn has gone.
"It's obviously bitterly disappointing, but since we've got back into training it's been a lot easier - getting my head round this game and knowing how much is still on the line for us.
"(This match) is a big test of character.
"(But) I think that is one of our strengths.
"In the first three games, I don't think that's what's let us down ... I think we've been 'out-skilled', and haven't quite been good enough when it's really mattered."