Manchester United’s problems on and off the pitch are well documented. The squad needs rebuilding, the money’s tight, Ferguson is being barracked and even the die-hard United fans are turning on the club’s management.
However, while players can be bought and managers replaced, it’s a totally different thing to decide on the captain for the club.
If you think the captain’s post is not as serious as our other problems, you’re probably right. Sure, we have a feather-weight squad. Sure, Ferguson can’t seem to motivate the players as he did before.
But Ferguson was never the only player doing the motivating. He had Keano to guide Man United through the glory years after Cantona. Thing is, Keano’s gone and sadly, Manchester United has no captains on the pitch.
Yes, Gary Neville is our current captain. Yes, Giggs is an able deputy and his will to fight is second to none. Scholes is there as well, and his decision to shun international football will prolong his career. But all three of them are too old to playing beyond the next couple of years.
If Manchester United are to plan for the future, they need a young captain that can lead them through this tinkering / rebuilding phase and back to the top of the Premiership and Europe in the next 5 years.
That means choosing a captain from our crop of young stars – there are many, but what criteria to use?
Players like Roy Keane, John Terry, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Steven Gerrard and even Kevin Nolan give us a unique insight into what’s required from a captain on the pitch and in the dressing room.
- The captain doesn’t have to be the best player (Keano and Vieira never were), but he has to be the one who tries the hardest and sets an example by giving his best every single time.
- Age is a major factor – you want a captain who will be playing at the top level for another 5-6 years at least.
- This goes without saying, but you need a player who is committed heart and soul to the club. With Manchester United, that’s not hard to find, but it is still something to consider.
- Going hand in hand with the previous point, the player should also have spent a couple of years at the club before being appointed captain (bringing in a new player and immediately making him captain doesn’t do much good for the team or the fans’ moral).
With the above criteria in mind, there really aren’t many players from the Manchester United squad that you can pick as captain. Tomorrow, I’ll talk about two players that I think are best suited to Manchester United’s captaincy. The big thing here is to realise that none of the ‘home-grown’ players are capable of being captain, which means Manchester United must turn to their transfer buys in the last few years to pick out a captain.
For now, please let us know (in the comments) who you think should be the next Manchester United captain.