Paul McGinley will lead the European Ryder Cup side at Gleaneagles in 2014 after a decision was made by the European Tour Players Committee.

The announcement brings months of speculation to a close, with Colin Montgomerie coming to the fore as a late contender after Darren Clarke formally ruled himself out on Tuesday.

McGinley will be a popular choice amongst the players, with the likes of world number one Rory McIlroy backing him for the role before the appointment was confirmed.

McGinley – a self-confessed strategist – has captained Europe to two Seve Cup victories, and played a instrumental role as a vice-captain in Europe’s scintillating final-round comeback at the 2012 Ryder Cup.

He also represented Europe three times as a Ryder Cup player, holing the winning putt at the Belfry in 2002.

“I am thrilled and delighted to have been given this honour,” said McGinley.

“It’s a huge honour and extremely humbling.”

George O’Grady, the European Tour’s chief executive, added: “It was a unanimous decision. It’s a wonderful achievement for Paul, who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the past.”

 While Thomas Bjorn revealed that McGinley had been chosen from a shortlist of five players, the other being Montgomerie, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Sandy Lyle and Paul Lawrie.