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Pearce's England captaincy dilemma

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Phil McNulty | 18:24 UK time, Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Stuart Pearce listed the qualities required and knows the man with all the credentials - but the identity of England's new captain remained shrouded in mystery at Wembley on Monday.

Former coach Fabio Capello, who sent his former assistant a "good luck" text ahead of Wednesday's meeting with the Netherlands, never fully grasped the honour the English attach to the captain's armband.

And those who shared the Italian's refusal to buy into the cult of captaincy would have had a harrowing couple of hours as the subject of John Terry's replacement topped the agenda at caretaker manager Pearce's pre-match media briefing.

Pearce makes no attempt to disguise his emotions about leading his country out as captain - "the greatest honour of my career" - so he was well prepared for the fuss that greeted his decision to delay the coronation until the day of the game.

He denied it had been a political decision, insisting this has always been his policy since his days as Manchester City manager and also as England Under-21s coach.

It may have added to the sense that England are in some sort of holding pattern for this friendly with no permanent manager, a captain whose identity is currently a secret and a squad weakened by the absence of injured and ill, including Manchester United's Wayne Rooney.

And yet this was Pearce showing he was being his own man, even if it is for only one game, as he has been by bringing back Manchester City's Micah Richards after he had been given the widest of berths by Capello, who left his post still unconvinced by his defensive capabilities.

It will be England's first itnernational match since the departure of Fabio Capello. Photo: Getty

Pearce knew who his captain would be almost from the moment he was handed control after Capello's split with the Football Association, and he revealed events behind closed doors at England's Hertfordshire base since the squad gathered on Sunday had only confirmed his view.

He said: "You have to bear in mind this might be a one-off scenario. When I pick the captain he has got to be somebody in the starting eleven, somebody who has got the respect of the other players, somebody who is unselfish, leads by example and puts the group before himself, which is a vital commodity.

"There is no doubt there are several candidates. It has to be someone I am comfortable working with but the most important thing is how the team plays."

So the field looks to have been narrowed to four - Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, Tottenham's Scott Parker, Manchester City keeper Joe Hart and his team-mate James Milner.

Pearce has already name-checked Milner, was glowing about the development and influence of Hart, sang Parker's praises after he was named England's player of the year - and is an avid admirer of Gerrard, who remains favourite to take the armband.

Hart, who is in the process of developing into one of the finest goalkeepers in the world, would be a major surprise at the age of 24.

In the absence of a captain he faced the media this week and played with the sort of straight bat that earned him accolades as a promising cricketer with Worcestershire's academy.

Such has been the impressive nature of Hart's progression, Pearce may feel the goalkeeper he signed for City as a teenager in a £600,000 deal from Shrewsbury Town should simply concentrate on his own game rather than receive wider responsibility.

He is unlikely to feel any pain at not being being given the captaincy - and the same may well apply to Milner, a respected figure within England's squad and someone who has already stated he would be unfazed by the cares of the armband.

Parker has a growing lobby backing his chances, but he is not captain of his club and again is unlikely to feel he has been snubbed should he be overlooked when Pearce gathers his squad at the team hotel at 10am on Wednesday to name Terry's successor.

This leaves Gerrard, who appears to be the identikit of the character sketched out by Pearce at Wembley. He has become the ultimate lead-by-example inspiration at Liverpool, a quiet but focused character who has the complete respect of England's players and someone who will play at Wembley.

Suggestions that Gerrard, 32 in May, could quit international football after the Euros to prolong his Liverpool career should be rendered irrelevant in this debate as the major object of England's attention must be Poland and Ukraine, not the imponderables that may or may not happen after the tournament.

So, as the pieces of Pearce's words and the messages around the camp were linked together, Gerrard still emerged as the main contender to lead England out in his first international since the defeat against France in November 2010.

Gerrard's involvement in Liverpool's Carling Cup final win after extra-time and penalties against Cardiff City at Wembley on Sunday means his appearance could be restricted against the Dutch, raising the prospect of the armband having a couple of owners on Wednesday.

And while his England captaincy may still bear the scars of the flawed World Cup campaign in South Africa in 2010, it would be harsh to blame Gerrard for the manner in which that summer descended into heavy defeat against Germany in the last 16.

Having led his country before, and with such honours behind him in his club career, Gerrard is the only one of the quartet, with 89 caps and 19 goals to his name, who may have cause to feel slighted should he not be handed the captaincy.

Pearce knows who he wants and will end the debate on Wednesday - and whether the armband is regarded by some as cosmetic rather than crucial, it will still be a cause for debate.


Page 1 of 5

  • Comment number 1.

    Gareth Barry is the only realistic choice; a masterful pro who will lead, as always, from the front.

  • Comment number 2.

    The only roll an England captain has played in the last ten years is fodder for media titillation. Do any of you actual England fans care a jot? I bet you don't. Give it to the most boring man in the team so that journos actually have to talk about football.

  • Comment number 3.

    Gerrard is a retrograde step. He used to be a great footballer but now he is a sad figure dreaming 'next year, next year'

  • Comment number 4.

    Captain fantastic. Stevie G

  • Comment number 5.

    Hi Phil, good article with an in depth look at the captaincy issue.

    I do feel however, that it's time to give the captains armband to a player that is going to be the driving force of the team for the next 5-8 years....Wayne Rooney. He is the player that teams fear, that team-mates look to when they need inspiration. Why not harness his hunger and drive and let him lead?

    Some may argue that he is too ill-disciplined to lead his country after his sending off that resulted in him being banned for the start of Euro 2012. I would counter that with the fact that he has only 1 booking in the Premier League this season.

    Other possible contenders (for the future)....P. Jones, Wilshere and Chamberlain.

  • Comment number 6.

    I think the captain should be a foreigner .........

  • Comment number 7.

    I'll point out at an early stage that this blog will be overtaken by Utd so-called fans who will go for ABG.

    Gerrarrd will be captain.

    Pointless blog. As are most of them these days. Filled with the same half-dozen drivel-filled buffoons who believe this to be the X-Factor of sports punditry.

  • Comment number 8.

    has anyone else noticed that England seem to have forgotten about trying to build for the future. It is looking increasingly like our team for the euros will contain the players we all know the best regardless of whether they form the best team.
    This is the same problem we have every tournament.

  • Comment number 9.

    The captain should be decided after the 11 best players have been selected. It's an overstated position in the England national team - the "natural leaders" come to the fore anyway regardless of who it is.

    And Phil, spare us the choices, it's so obvious that you are desperate for Gerrard to get it. On twitter after Terry was sacked, you tweeted about 5 times within an hour how Gerrard should be the next England captain and that it was a "no-brainer".

  • Comment number 10.

    Well done Stuart Pearce for not giving in to media pressure to name a captain.

  • Comment number 11.

    As much as it hurts for me to say this, but Gerrard will probably get it, Milner not guaranteed a place in the team, whilst i don't like the prospect of a keeper getting the armband when it is difficult for them to make an impact on his own team-mates when he is 40 yards away from the nearest player. You could argue Gerrard is not a a guaranteed starter anymore, has had injuries, and is not in good form (does he deserve a start in front of Parker, Wilshere and possibly Cleverley if he's fit?) I would give it to Parker, in great form for club and country, you know what you will get with Parker. Once the Euro's are out of the way, a new captain should be given the armband, someone younger, who will defintely take part in 2014 WC. Why does no one think it could be Rooney? He is a certain starter, and is England's best player...but i may just want him to be the captain as i may be a bit biased (Utd Fan) but their are not enough candiates!

  • Comment number 12.

    Gerrard is the obvious choice, he is the beating heart of Liverpool and leads from the front, never shirking his responsibilities and always in the thick of it. He was the obvious choice to take over from Terry the first time he was removed as captain and it was very surprising that Capello chose to return the armband to Terry in the first place.
    As Phil says in the blog, the fact that he will consider his international future after the tournament is a moot point. Assuming that he doesn't suffer an injury and is forced to pull out, Gerrard will be an inspiration to the squad, new and old members alike respect him and will gladly follow his example.

  • Comment number 13.

    The fact that someone might be upset if he didn't get the armband is not a legitimate reason to make them captain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Why is Milner even being considered? He won't start when the best XI is fit and isn't even a regular at club level. Hart has the right attributes he is confident, consistent and popular however I feel goalkeepers aren't in the game enough to be captain. Parker is a good choice but if they aren't going to go for a different style of captain (I.e. younger player etc) then I don't see why Parker would be favoured over Gerrard who is a proven captain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Why are you journalists making such a big deal over who Stuart Pearce picks as captain for this friendly? It's a friendly, and Pearce is stepping in as caretaker, stop blowing this out of all proportion.

  • Comment number 16.

    @ Soul

    Ah, unsurprising you're the first to comment, given your obsession with the English game yet complete lack of knowledge of it. I am still waiting to hear your views on Perez's Galacticos at Madrid starting the "spend big to win trophies" trend. You seemed to duck it yesterday as you obviously realised you were hoisted on your own petard. PLease feel free to respond, I await with interest.

  • Comment number 17.

    Yeah .. it's gotta be a foreigner .........

  • Comment number 18.

    @ 11. MUFC

    The reason we have to have a Captain in England is because of the media, and sponsorship. The FA need a figurehead which is there to influence their money making possibilities.

    I am too a Man United supporter, and i agree with you that it probably will be Gerrard. I dont agree with Milner as he isnt a guaranteed starter, Parker whilst being an outstanding candidate isn't captain of Spurs and so that probably rules him out.

    I wouldn't make Gerrard captain because im not sure he is a guaranteed starter either. Too many injuries in the last 12 months and he came out and said recently that he is considering retiring from Int. football. If it was me, id make Hart skipper. Spain, Holland and Italy didnt have the problem with their keeper being captain, why should we?

    Heres hoping Pearce springs a surprise though!

  • Comment number 19.

    Gerrard would be a poor choice. I'm a Liverpool fan and I don't see him performing like a captain. Even on his best games, his effort can inspire, but he's far too quiet. He should be asking the referee to explain if there's a questionable decision - respectfully, of course - and he should be talking to his team-mates to get them up and going. He doesn't do it. Barry seems the logical choice as he's consistent, but I haven't watched him enough to know how vocal he is

  • Comment number 20.

    No surprise if it's a foreigner ........

  • Comment number 21.

    yes, hype where little is at stake in a friendly

    does this matter much?

    a desperate effort to get a story going?

  • Comment number 22.

    I hope he doesn't give it to Hart, I'm not a big fan of goalies being Captain. I'd prefer a defender or a midfielder. Surely he can't give it to Rooney. Giving it to Rooney isn't much better than giving it to Terry in my opinion. Also, whilst Rooney for United is genuine class, not since he burst on the scene really in 2004 has he been anything like as affective or fearsome on the International stage. Most teams know that if you isolate him and get in his face, he'll either get senf off or be useless. His attitude and previous misdemeanors don't lend him to being captain either. Not sure about it giving it to the any of the youngsters. Its far too early to burden them with the Captaincy armband. So this really leaves the old heads, like Barry or Gerrard. My own preference would be somebody who leads by example and stands up when it counts, so it would have to be Gerrard.

  • Comment number 23.

    The captain of the England team is simply a figurehead, someone to speak to the media and appear in all the kit photo shoots. He has no say (or shouldn't have) any say in the selection of the side like the cricket skipper does.

    There are leaders in the team who will organise on the pitch regardless of who has the armband.

    To the guy who said that the goalie if too far away from the play to be skipper, the Spainish may have something to say about that with Casilas.

    Just give it to the bloke with the most caps like the majority of other national sides do.

    It's certainly not a topic worthy of the column inches it currently recieves.

  • Comment number 24.

    @Impossible is nothing.

    That is a good point! But you got to remember, especially Spain and Hooland, they had and still have incredible talent all over the team, who perform incredibly well at International level, it does not matter who the captain is for them in my opinion. However, England depend heavily on just a few players. We need someone who can drive us forward when needed, hence why i don't think it will be Hart, he is a great keeper and could be a great leader. I just feel we need someone who can motivate our team when we need it most, Spain and Holland do not require this.

  • Comment number 25.

    Ruling out scott parker just because he isn't captain of spurs doesn't make sense. Beckham was not captain or ManUtd (it was Keane) but was still the captain of England.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    Phil, we're reading a little too much into this. Pearce will pick a skipper, but won't be picked himself to lead England out in Poland and the Ukraine. At least we hope not, since much of the tactical failings of Fabio's reign can also be attributed to his underlings. The "safe hands" option is Gerrard, but Phil Jones has all the attributes to be there for a very long time and I'm thinking would be the long term choice.

    As for Lescott's late call up, come on! Anyone who's watched City this season will have seen that he's back to the form that earned the huge move away from Goodison Park. Pity Jags is sidelined because that's still a partnership to die for.

  • Comment number 28.

    Surely the captain has to be a player who will start every game, and who is good enough to make the starting 11 and make meaningful contributions?

    So clearly the captain by this reasoning ABSOLUTELY CAN'T be Gerrard.

    I don't need to say this because everyone knows anyway, but just to expand my point - Gerrard is past it, not very good any more, and he's one of the old guard that we're trying to phase out to blood in the youngsters.

    Other potential candidates, given my requisites stated in the first paragraph: Rooney, Cole, Hart, Parker. Rooney is a bit hot headed and not the best role model. Cole is CERTAINLY not a good role model. Hart would be in my opinion an excellent choice, but I understand the point that a Keeper being captain means they aren't near the ref all the time to intervene and protest. Parker therefore is my choice - excellent player, great role model, and in my opinion a pivotal player for England, breaking up attacks, never misplacing a pass.

    Parker is my choice. CATEGORICALLY not Gerrard.

  • Comment number 29.


    You are bang on mate, I would have given Lescott away at the end of last season. This season though he seems to have found the form he had at Everton. Still don't think he's worth the amount we paid though. Certainly should be ahead of Ferdinand/Cahill and Terry.

  • Comment number 30.

    @ 24. MUFC

    We do yes, but that is also the coaches job. Pearce would be a wonderful manager; he would be a great motivator, and would also use the youth we have.

    A guaranteed starter is who the captain should be, and to me there are only 3 players who are guaranteed to start for England - Rooney, Cole and Hart. Won't be Cole, leave Rooney to focus on his own game (for those who say he isnt disciplined - hes had 1 yellow this season for United) so that leaves Hart for me.

    Well spoken, decent bloke, havent heard about him in any of the front pages of the papers, only the back. Being a keeper shouldnt matter.

  • Comment number 31.

    How Gerrard is even selected at the moment is a mystery. He's in dire form and should not be playing for Liverpool, let only England atm.
    Parker is the guy for the job.

  • Comment number 32.


    Scott Parker is virtually the same age as Gerrard. He'd be a stupid choice if one is looking for a long -term captain, and considering your opening paragraph I assume you are talking long-term. Why? This isn't about England's now and future captain. it's about the game tomorrow night, maybe the remaining friendlies before the Euros, but from then on it's a different manager and almost certainly a different captain. Parker? Maybe for one game, but given his paucity of caps I'd say not.

  • Comment number 33.

    Steven Gerrard should be the current England captain.

    After the Euro's, it's time for a serious change. Out with the old guard ('the golden generation lol') and in with the new and fresh.

  • Comment number 34.

    Gerrard shouldn't be in the team.

    Lampard deserves a squad spot more than Gerrard too.

    What has Gerrard done since returning from injury for lfc?

    I can recall a hollywood pass that went to touch v Cardiff and that's about it- is that alone worth an England place?

  • Comment number 35.


    Spot on! Infact, on current form Lescott is the only CB who should be guaranteed a start.

    Hart should be long term captain IMO, he has natural leadership qualities, and in some ways I think making the keeper the captain is less pressure than giving it to an outfielder, who is suddenly expected to play out of his skin.

    In terms of the Holland game, give it to Gerrard and move on.

    What I'd really like to see happen (slightly off topic but I'd be interested to hear the response) would be to see whoever the manager is come the Euros leave Rooney out of the squad. If we don't get through the group then it wouldn't have made a difference, and if we do then why should we bring him back into a winning team?

  • Comment number 36.

    No offence Phil but it's people like you who make a mountain out of a molehill. This topic has been done to death, why can't people wait until the Euro's commences so then we'll actually know who's in charge and more importantly who's in the squad.

  • Comment number 37.

    Gerrard has hardly ever started for England in his preferred centre midfield slot. At the very least he deserves a run of games there, and I'd make him captain too. In that position for Liverpool he's dragged them through crisis time and again, because he rises to the big game and the big occasion. He scored vital goals for his club in the 2001 UEFA Cup final, 2003 Carling Cup final, 2005 Champions League final and 2006 FA Cup final.

    This is a man who, as captain, wins. So let's give him the chance - just once - to do it for England.

  • Comment number 38.

    For this idiotic fixture which everyone could well do without it is irrelevant who is captain,who plays,who doesn't or what the score is. At the Euros the captaincy role should of course be John Terrys.

  • Comment number 39.

    right my opinion is that they will go with somebody young and who wont get into trouble so by this I dont think lampard, gerard, barry or parker will get it. My bet is Joe Hart seems like a nice lad who would do the country proud

  • Comment number 40.

    Gerrard shouln't be in the team until he has found some sort of form.

    Hasn't Lamps got a 0.5 goals per game (league) average?

    Give the captaincy to Hart.

  • Comment number 41.

    I agree with #35.

    Joe Hart should be the next England captain.

    (During and/or after the Euro's)

  • Comment number 42.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 43.


    the same beeb mods that permit soul_patches to troll about la liga EVERY 10mins on EVERY thread!

  • Comment number 44.


    Please, think before commenting.

    "Gerrard is one of the old guard that we're trying to phase out to blood in the youngsters."

    "Parker is my choice"

    Right, firstly, Gerrard is only a year older than Parker. A 31-year-old isn't really a youngster.

    Secondly, how exactly is Gerrard not as much of a guaranteed England started (at least for the Holland game, let alone the Euros)? Cleverley is injured, Wilshere is injured, Lampard is not selected, and we're likely to play 4-3-3. So that's Parker, Gerrard and Milner probably.

    Thirdly, Parker has only started playing regularly at the top top level in the last year, including for England. Aside from the fact that he's not club captain (which IS crucial imo), surely you have to have had some genuine international experience before becoming captain? He may be a brilliant player, but deserving, and potentially good, England captain? Not in my book.

    Gerrard should be captain for the Euro's, then, assuming a new manager is in place afterwards, and based on our performance there, the new manager can either choose to stick with him until he internationally retires (which I very much doubt will be in six months time), or go young and pick Hart etc.

    Hopefully Phil Jones will not be England captain for a long time. Not that he's not a good player, or a potential captain, but he's not exactly a guaranteed starter, nor anywhere near internationally experienced enough.

    If it had to be someone really young (i.e. under 23), I'd say Wilshere. He'll soon be Arsenal captain I reckon (Van Persie will leave them in the summer), and while I do not think his leadership skills are that great, look at Aaron Ramsey for Wales. If Wilshere gets fit, he can lead instead by example, rather than influence.

    But for now, just play it easy and go for Gerrard. Please.

  • Comment number 45.

    37. At 21:42 28th Feb 2012, bengate wrote:
    Gerrard has hardly ever started for England in his preferred centre midfield slot
    Rubbish - as rubbish as StevieMe's performances for England has been. He has 50 caps in Central Midfield and about 3 good games. Him and Lumpard aren't able to play together because they aren't good enough. Rubbish (for England) both of them!!! The biggest game they had to show their grit - November 2007 v Croatia, Woeful.

    Captain - well chose someone who doesn't do rubbish interviews with rubbish glossy magazines.

  • Comment number 46.

    As Pearce has said, he himself is only garunteed to be in the job for one game so he isn't going to look any further than that. Therefore Gerrard's probably the safest bet available for tomorrow.

  • Comment number 47.

    The whole debate about England captain suffers under the fallacy that we expect to do anything positive in the upcoming Euro Championship. We won't. We are going to have a bad tournament and come home quite early, so naming a captain for short term purposes is a wholly negative step. The person appointed should be the captain with a view to leading the team out at the next European Championship, never mind Brazil 2014.

    While I can understand Gerrard being an easy choice, he was captain while we completely bombed at the last world cup, and doesnt really have 4 more years in his international legs. Parker would be good except for the fact he also isnt likely to be walking out in 4 years time. Milner somehow has become a contender despite not even being in the first choice team.

    So, that leaves Joe Hart. I would have picked him a month ago, I would pick him now. We know that barring a meltdown he will be in the side, he appears to have a brain between his ears and has shown himself able to deal with the media.

  • Comment number 48.

    John Fashanu for England captain

  • Comment number 49.

    Why are some people saying Rooney shouldn't be in the team! He is England's best player and if he had better attackers with him, England would be a great force going forward. Ok, he can be hot-headed (only for England though, as he gets frustrated because of the lack of ability of our midfield to keep the ball specially away from home) that is the reason he got a red card. He has not received a yellow card in any of the domestic competitions or in the league. You all know what a great talent he is, all those saying he hasn't performed at international stage, he scored the most goals under capello and assisted the most, even though he missed quite a few internationals through injury. If he hasn't performed at international stage, who has for england, all the old players except Parker should be out of the team, incl. Gerrard , Barry and Cole.

    P.S. i have seen many far worse kick outs this season than the one rooney recieved a red card for (in PL, championship and scottish league where the player has not even been given a yellow)

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    The headline syays that Pearce has a dilemma. No he doesn't. He has already said that he decided who is captain would be some time ago.

  • Comment number 52.

    Joe Hart, Guarenteed to play for the next 5+ years, and every fan respects his abilities

  • Comment number 53.

    'Suggestions that Gerrard, 32 in May, could quit international football after the Euros to prolong his Liverpool career should be rendered irrelevant in this debate as the major object of England's attention must be Poland and Ukraine, not the imponderables that may or may not happen after the tournament.'

    Well that's a stupid thing to say as most others and i agree with them, are saying we should be looking towards the 2014 World Cup and therefore we should be playing a team at the Euros that will improve and gain experience together for the next 2 years. I agree Gerrard is the best captain but not if he plans on retiring after the euros. If a new manager comes in before the Euros he should select a captain that will be in the starting 11 and playing in the 2014 World Cup (Hart or Rooney in my opinion, Wilshere and Jones are still too young despite Ramsey being Wales captain). The team for the Euros should be
    Richards Smalling Jones Cole
    Parker Wilshere Gerrard
    Oxlade Chamberlain Rooney Young

    Others in the squad: Green, Walker, Terry, Lescott, Wilshere, Walcott, Johnson, Carrick, Rooney, Sturridge, Bent

  • Comment number 54.


    Very confused with your logic, as you don't appreciate our top English players but believe that an infrequent Manchester City player would be the best footballer to lead our squad.

    Moreover, your knowledge of La liga/Premiership is woeful - most of your accusations towards the premier league is twice as bad in Spain. The lack of competition in La Liga is non-existent; need I remind you that in the 2010/11 LL season, fourth place were closer to relegation than Barcalona?

  • Comment number 55.

    Hello I'm Phil McNulty and I'm in the tank for Gerrard, Liverpool and anything that isn't MUFC-related.
    What a joke even thinking about Gerrard. His England teammates have never seen him put in a good performance and he has only just come back from a long injury.. and he plays for a very mediocre side. Apart from that he is ideal.

  • Comment number 56.


    I agree with your comments about Wilshere. Coming through, in my opinion we have two world class players in Wilshere and Sturridge. Wilshere should be groomed for the captaincy role once he's back. It sound awful but in a way I'm kinda glad Bent is out, coz I'm hoping now that Sturridge might get a couple of games.


    I agree Rooney should not be picked for the Euro's he is only eligible to play for 1 game. Its not like he has put in the performances to make him unmissable. However, coz its Rooney he will get picked. Get sent off in his only game, swear at a group of England fans coz they are booing us losing without putting up fight, then slag off the fans back home through the TV camera and lastly try to start a fight on Twitter.

  • Comment number 57.

    For me, I really don't know why people are calling for Parker over Gerrard for the 'long term' as people don't seem to know these few very simples facts. Parker is the same age as Gerrard, and he also has also has very little captaining experience (he has only ever captained Newcastle for a very short amount of time). Also, Parker has only really just started shining as a player, where as Gerrard has been shining for the majority of his career. For me, I don't think either Hart, Milner or Barry should be England captain as they aren't captain when both Kompany and De Jong are out for City, Micah Richards is Mancini's third choice. As a Liverpool fan, I may be biased, but I think Gerrard should be captain for the Euro's, and after that someone like Rooney, who will be in the team for the next 5-6 years at most.

  • Comment number 58.

    This didn't deserve a blog.

    Gerrard is the natural choice - an excellent diplomat and leader.

    In the longer term hart.

  • Comment number 59.

    None of the old guard should be considered. Gerrard played a big part in the North/South devide at the last world cup so how can he even be in the running if we want a united (poor choice of words, I know) squad?

    He does a great job for Liverpool where he's dragged them through some bad times but he's done it by doing everything himself rather than inspiring others. He tries to do the same when he captains his country.

    Give it to someone fresh. Leaders will be leaders, with or without an armband.

  • Comment number 60.


    Gerrard's candle went out 2 years ago! He's only in the lfc team because they are short of centre mids (with only about 7 on their books)

  • Comment number 61.

    At 22:08 28th Feb 2012, MGUK82 wrote:

    True !
    So we could have a repeat of this blog when a new England manager is appointed.

  • Comment number 62.

    60 - You're just having a pop at Liverpool and Gerrard, why don't you try to make a constructive comment about who should be England captain rather than just being a bitter and negative all the time?

  • Comment number 63.

    At 22:31 28th Feb 2012, 2xblue wrote:

    He does a great job for Liverpool where he's dragged them through some bad times but he's done it by doing everything himself rather than inspiring others

    He has done the same for England as well , you cant blame him for taking the game by the scruff of the neck.
    He has been our only decent performer over the last 10 years.

  • Comment number 64.

    Stevie G, you're past it. You no longer have it, as you proved on Sunday.
    Parker would be a good choice.

    However, let's continue to build for the future and think Phil Jones deserves the captains arm band.

  • Comment number 65.

    Yawn! Again? Who cares who the captain is? Let them all take turns as they walk out so none of them can be "upset". I've never heard such drivel. Only since Sky and the "media" have got hold of football has a "friendly" taken on such importance. Hype the thing to hell! Why not? I keep reading these things in the hope that, at some point, someone might write something of actual value and worth. Chief Football Writer? Where's the football? Let's all play that wonderful school playground game of you can't be captain 'cos I'm older than you. Do tell us which manager is "under pressure" this week because it's only the "media" that know, peddling their self-interest at the same time. As much as we all want out own team to do well where did this ridiculous life and death take on football come from? Hmmmm. The media perhaps?

  • Comment number 66.

    Yep. It's not the crappy grassroots system, not the general lack of talent, not the 65% non-English players in the Prem, not the invasive, over-the-top and mostly ignorant media, not the undermining of the manager, and not the bloated egos in the dressing rooms. It's the CAPTAIN. That's genius. Finally someone's cracked it.

    What a bunch of morons.

  • Comment number 67.

    I am fed up having to read about the same old failed "golden generation" if this is the route we are going to take then it should be done properly.

    euro team


    David James


    A cole
    G Nev ( come outa retirment 4 euros)


    Scholes ( Talk him into playin then stick out left)
    Beckham (C)



    Bring back the glory days give it 1 last chance

  • Comment number 68.

    @65 No, no, no! It's only the captain THIS week. Next week, it'll be something completely different.

  • Comment number 69.

    At 22:46 28th Feb 2012, Spyder04 wrote:

    However, let's continue to build for the future and think Phil Jones deserves the captains arm band.

    What a ridiculous comment , a kid who is always injured , plays like a headless chicken, prone to the odd howler, and who only has one England cap due to injuries to players above him in the pecking order!

    I bet you read all the "red tops" to form your opinions.

    Micah Richards is by far the best bet for a future England captain.

  • Comment number 70.

    Bringing in new blood i'd like to see a team like this.
    Hart, Richards, Lescott, Jagielka, Cole, Wilshere, Parker, Cleverly, Young, Rooney, Walcott - A fairly experienced spine with Wilshere handed the captaincy as he should be in the side for a long time and seems very responsible. With Jones, Smalling, Sturrige, Chamberlain being phased in over the next few years

  • Comment number 71.

    Re repo comment 69 - I'll hand to you, Micah Richards is a good shout

  • Comment number 72.

    There is no bloody dilemma. He has to pick Gerrard end of. Wish the English would stop going on about this!!!!!

  • Comment number 73.

    Personally, being English, I hope the Dutch spank us soundly by a cricket score. I really can't take it anymore. We can make Mr McNulty manager, captain and tea boy all in one and he can show us all how it's done. Anyone who thinks Rooney will turn up at the Euros and be anything other than completely useless can join Mr McNulty at Camp England where I'm sure you'll all be very happy together.

    England are NOT very good. Get over it.

  • Comment number 74.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 75.

    This is such a non-story is unbelievable that you get paid for reporting it. His choice means absolutely nothing as its a friendly and is likely to be his only game in charge. The British media are actually insane when it comes to the national side it's the only way I can describe it, totally obsessive, deluded. They have totally lost sight of the concept of objectively reporting what's important. Scrutinising and nit picking every little detail. Building English players up to unreasonable heights only to knock them back down with merciless cruelty when they don't meet their warped expectations. It's little wonder Capello left, only an idiot wouldn't believe the English media's deluded take on their national side had something to do with his decision.
    Paul Scholes said it himself, that players dread pulling on the England shirt because of the insane media expectations and spotlight.
    Look at the stuff your writing about, that's being put under the spotlight. Its nothing, a non-story. It doesn't mean anything. I'm sure there's something more relevant or interesting you could be talking about. Is this what I pay my license fee for?
    I don't even know why I read anything on this site any more apart from Tim Vickerys blog.

  • Comment number 76.

    At 23:00 28th Feb 2012, JRay wrote:

    Your team doesnt look too bad , but there are some exceptions.
    Walcott is pants.
    Parker is just an EPL clogger
    And Cleverly ...what has he ever done ?
    Judging by some of the comments I see he even outshines Messi your dreams !

  • Comment number 77.

    Maybe Gerrard isn't going to be around for too much longer but surely not giving him the armband is a massive slap in the face. On his day, and when fully fit, he's one of England's most dangerous players and to demotivate him before a championship would be stupid, to say the least.

    Rooney would be an interesting choice and may even thrive on the responsibility but I think his time should be after this tournament....he's banned for the first few games anyway!

  • Comment number 78.

    So can someone answer me why we are so obsessed with Rooney? No goals in a major tournament since 2004 yet somehow we expect him to produce the goods in this one when he may only get 2 games!
    Oh Soul patch I believe is an old troll friend of mine call Papa Shango!

  • Comment number 79.

    What is all the Gerrard bashing about? You can't be serious when you say that he has been poor. He has been injured and is finding his fitness and contrary to popular belief, he is a guaranteed starter.

    He was the best player by an absolute mile at the WC and it is hardly his fault that every player cannot perform at international level like they can domestically. It is so like Liverpool - good players that always flatter to deceive and the pressure always seems to be the factor.

    Regardless of this, Joe is IMO our only guaranteed starter and the old guard should be weened out over the next couple of years.

    I therefore plump for Joe Hart - seems level headed and a hugely popular choice for captain. If not, have Gerrard for the Euro's and pass it on to him after. Maybe when Wilshere is more established, pass it to him.

  • Comment number 80.

    God help us if Rooney get the captaincy, Joe Hart would be not a bad choice. Peter Shilton managed to be captain for a while

  • Comment number 81.

    Parker is in because he is the best ball winner we have and has the discipline to sit back when others go forward. Im not a fan of Walcott or Lennon but until Chamberlain has time to develop theyre the best we have. I personally like Cleverly and think hes one for the future. Fergie seems to like him and isnt usually wrong. Im also not a fan of Rooney as he has too many off days and will always be a disciplinary risk and would like to see sturridge given a chance.

  • Comment number 82.

    england fans better be prepared once again to accept the fact that England will not win any major competition without a major change. the truth hurts

  • Comment number 83.

    What about Cahill as captain? Wasnt he Bolton captain and playing while Terry has been injured? #justsaying

  • Comment number 84.

    Gerrard should get it and for all those bashing the lad, he has had the chance to leave Liverpool but remained loyal. I am no Liverpool fan but he at least played decent at the last WC sadly he was surrounded by those who couldn't be bothered. For those who forgot Mr Rooney's outburst post game 1 when we were booing him for his lack of effort I will remind you! This is the person you want to be england captain Boom a guy who doesn't even have the brains to realise that the people in that stadium had saved in my case 6K£ to go see the WC a lot of money for me. We have the right to voice our opinion if we see someone not trying. Also Rooney as captain is not a cert to be on the pitch for 90 mins or have some of you lot forgot 2006?
    What short memories some fans of our great country have!

  • Comment number 85.

    83 - Not a bad shout going forward, but has he got enough england caps to really have the respect of the team?

  • Comment number 86.

    Lots of people saying Hart shouldn't be captain because he's a goalkeeper.. yet Iker Casillas is captain for Spain arguably the best international team in the world at the moment.

  • Comment number 87.

    Gerrard - Shadow of his former self, blown every chance he's had for England.
    Parker - Failed to perform at big clubs before and yet seriously overrated, complete lack of footballing ability and pace will get shown up.
    Hart - Great keeper and possibly a long-term choice but doesn't need extra responsibility.
    Milner - Great asset and top attitude, but realistically has never looked like nailing down a starting place.

    Pick your best of a bad bunch. Of course, too much is being read into this and we have to remember that tomorrow's captain is temporary and only chosen by default.

  • Comment number 88.

    86 There are two schools of thought on it, one is that a keeper is too far removed to have an influence, the other is that the keeper can see the whole game. In either case I suppose a leader is a leader. Personally, I've never been a fan of keeper as captain for the first reason, but I think it comes down to the manager's choice so Hart is a decent shout depending on the next boss

  • Comment number 89.

    If Stevie is captain for Euro 2012, then let's just hope that the bars in Kiev and Donetsk have a Phil Collins greatest hits CD immediately available.

  • Comment number 90.

    @The_soul_patch_of_David_Villa... are you joking the captain has to be one of the first names on the team sheet! Barry is not one of the first names on the team sheet! He might not even make the squad for the euros. The choice needs to be between experience (Gerrard) and longevity (Hart or Wishere) end of!

  • Comment number 91.

    EION Sadly you are right, I am 40 now, I don't expect to ever see us win a tournament in my lifetime and I doubt my kids will see it either.
    The FA need to sort out youth football make it more technical less hoof it up the pitch and chase it. There needs to be a radical overhaul of the EPL and less foreigners playing. Sure that means less Champions league wins but sorry they clubs gotta accept that.
    We need to get the Under 21 team blooded at full international level asap and work on them, sure we may not get to 2014 but then we need to look further out than that.
    Whoever comes in as England manager need to forget about us playing pretty football, we are not Brazil or Spain we need to work out how to win ugly like Greece did. Some comments while back in here were along the lines of we need to play pretty football and I don't care if we don't win. That's just BS, this is professional football we win at all costs. Something like the Italian mentality mixed with some German organisation and some English passion. If we copy the first two we won't go far wrong. The won a fair few more international comps than we have or ever will, SADLY!

  • Comment number 92.

    88. Sonnyhart

    Whilst that could be true, the captain does not do everything, as has been said many times before, there needs to be leaders all over the pitch which we currently do have. For example Ferdinand, Terry, Parker, Gerrard, Lampard and Rooney are all leaders and are all over the pitch, so for England, I don't think it the captaincy is that much of issue, in our case it basically needs to be someone who is well-behaved to serve as a role model.

  • Comment number 93.

    Who is this Jo Harte guy that everyone keeps talking about? :scratcheshead:

    I've never heard of him.

    Just as a humourous suggestion, why don't England give the captain's armband to that blonde-haired Comedy Central, calamitous custodian who wears the no. 25 shirt at Manchester City (I can't remember his name, off the top of my head)? :stifleslaugh:

  • Comment number 94.

    And has obvious leadership skills.

  • Comment number 95.


    You are of course making the assumption that soul knows anything about football. Sadly he is a Rotherham united fan so hasn't seen a game of football in his life so his comments should be used as pure amusement value only!

  • Comment number 96.

    90. At 23:31 28th Feb 2012, ed2000_8 wrote:

    are you joking the captain has to be one of the first names on the team sheet!

    Exactly. Gareth Barry is your man.

    Quod erat demonstrandum.

  • Comment number 97.

    95. At 23:36 28th Feb 2012, paul wrote:

    Oh, behave yourself!

    Who says that I support Rotherham United? :rollseyes:

  • Comment number 98.

    92 I'd certainly agree on the last part and the overall sentiment. I'd argue that Rooney isn't much of a leader until he curbs his temper/ frustration. You can't have a captain who is likely to get himself sent off. As I said, there are two schools of thought and the next manager will be of either one or the other. I like a centre half as captain, and would have had Carragher over gerrard at Liverpool for the last few years. Someone else said it before, Hart doesn't need extra responsibility right now, that's probably true, so it makes sens to get through the euros before considering him as a long term skipper anyway

  • Comment number 99.

    The England captaincy position has caused so much more trouble than good in the last 2 years or so (in fairness this is mostly down to Terry's antics) that I am tempted to say just give it to Hart. Lets face it he'll most likely be in the England team for the next 10 years anyway he can grow into the role.

    I suspect other countries would laugh at the huge fuss we make over such a tiny issue. Much as this sounds like the same cliched rubbish players and managers come out with every day there are natural leaders all over the pitch (Gerrard, Parker etc) anyway and I really don't think it would make that much difference to their actions if they don't have a bit of black material around their upper arm.

    Give it to Hart then we don't have go through this load of mind numbing debate for a long long time.

  • Comment number 100.

    I would give it to Parker and make Phil Jones the vice captain.

    To the people saying Parker shouldn't get it as he's not Spurs captain and is only a year younger than Gerrard. Parker was captain at West Ham and won player of the year from football writers aswell as England player of the year today. He is a model pro who has never been in such incident as Terry, Rooney and even Gerrard have got themselves into. He leads by example and unlike Gerrard does not have the 'golden generation' baggage. Don't get me wrong, Gerrard is a great player and would be a certain strarter for me but his time has gone to be captain IMO.

    I think Phil Jones could learn from him and take over in 2/3 years when Parker retires from international duty.


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