Ferdinand vs Rooney – Vote For Your Future Manchester United Captain

This is continued from yesterday’s post, ‘Manchester United Need A New Captain‘.

The challenge is to find a captain who can lead us for the next 5 years, or barring that, lead us after Neville finally puts up his boots. If you give Neville another year or so (the amount of injuries he gets, he’s unlikely to continue for much longer), you realise that none of the old guard – Edwin van der Sar, Giggs or Scholes – will be suitable captains either.

So we’re limited to the current crop of young stars – and that list comprises of:

O’Shea, Brown, Park, Ronaldo, Rooney, Ferdinand, Richardson, Rossi

Of this list, only Rooney and Ferdinand merit serious mention, and they are my picks for future United captains.

But who is better suited?

Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand was tipped by many people to be Manchester United’s next captain after Roy Keane – that is, until he missed a drugs test and then got himself bad press for his contract wrangle and a meeting with Peter Kenyon.

Some of you would know that I’ve been pipping for Rio Ferdinand for both the United captaincy as well as England’s captaincy. The reason for this is inherent into the psychology of all great players – give them more responsibility and watch them thrive. Ferdinand, like Rooney, Gerrard and Terry, is at his best under pressure situations – you will rarely find these players going missing in matches that matter (rarely, not never).

His standing in the team means that despite the presence of Vidic and Brown in the squad he is still one of the first names penned on the team sheet. He is excellent at marshalling the defence and is able to go forward and support the midfield when necessary.

Many United supporters feel that he doesn’t have the right attitude for the game, and that’s all bling and no substance. Ferdinand has only himself to blame for that image, mainly because he’s ‘too relaxed’ during a game.

But the man is one of the best players in the team, has the respect of his teammates and is at the right age. Most importantly though, I think he will fulfill his potential as one of the best defenders to grace the game once he’s made captain.

Pros: Right age, guaranteed starting spot, respect of his teammates, already a leader on the pitch.
Cons:Doesn’t have the full support of the fans after his actions in the last two years.

Wayne Rooney

Ferguson’s best signing of the last three years, Rooney is not the automatic choice for captaincy but he fills the criteria mentioned yesterday.

He gives his best in every game, is the heart and soul of the club, is young and should be playing for the next 10 years and has pledged his future to United ‘forever’. No one else at Manchester United fulfills that criteria, and to top it off Rooney is also United’s best player.

What Rooney lacks is that he’s not the ‘voice‘ of the club like Roy Keane was or Gary Neville is. It is one area where he will have to work in, and a lot will go into clearing up his public image before he can be named captain. In one of United’s pre-season games Rooney was named captain despite van der Sar being on the pitch, which led me to think that there was a slight chance that Ferguson was testing Rooney out at this level.

Too young? Too hot-blooded? Remember, Neville is around for another year at least. While no one is suggesting that Rooney should be given the armband at 20-21, he would be a suitable candidate at 23-24, and that is just 3 years away. In that time, we have a number of the old guard to keep the seat warm for him.

There’s also the chance that Ferguson (or our future manager) will be caught in a situation where he wants to name a new captain for the long haul but Rooney is too young (say 21-22) to take the armband).

Pros: Support of the fans, the club and his manager, guaranteed starting spot, respect of his teammates, already a leader on the pitch, young enough to be captain for a long time.
Cons:Could be deemed too young to lead the team when the time comes to choose a new captain.

Time To Vote

So who do you think should be the next Manchester United captain? Vote, and then rant in the comments below 🙂

Note: I’ve added two more names to the list (based on yesterday’s discussion) – Wes Brown and Alan Smith.

Update: Voting is now over. The results are:

Rio Ferdinand – 46.23%
Wes Brown – 3.02%
Alan Smith – 6.53%
Wayne Rooney – 44.22%

I have a theory here – placing Rio Ferdinand’s name at the top (and Rooney’s at no.4) influenced the votes slightly in Ferdinand’s favour. This theory does have it’s basis in psychological studies conducted during the 2000 US elections, so I figure that from the voting sample we received, Rooney and Ferdinand are either equal in votes or Rooney has a slight advantage.

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