Wayne Rooney’s England career is nearing an end but who will replace him as captain?

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Updated: May 10, 2017
Football, England

Manchester United’s 2-0 defeat at Premier League rivals Arsenal on Sunday was poignant for two things.

The first it all but confirmed that them to ultimately miss out on the top four.  The second was it also highlighted the fact that club and country legend Wayne Rooney had finally dropped from the pinnacle of footballing greatness as he put in yet another below par performance.

And with that in mind it appears that England will once again look for another captain, as Rooney appears to be but a peripheral on the edge of the national squad.

The question that manager Gareth Southgate now has to answer is who can replace the Three Lions’ all-time leading goalscorer?

Eric Dier

Spending most of his childhood years growing up in Portugal and developing his football knowledge at Sporting Lisbon, Eric Dier has quickly become one of both England’s and Tottenham’s most important midfield players.

Signed by Spurs at the start of the 2014-15 season, and with 17 senior national appearances to his name at the age of just 23, it’s safe to say that Eric Dier has an extremely promising career ahead. A defensive midfielder by trade, Dier regularly dominates midfields and with a big voice on the pitch there is clear evidence that he possesses strong leadership qualities that could make him the long-term choice for captaincy.

A certain contender for the armband but Southgate will have doubts it may be too much too soon for the young midfielder

Chris Smalling

The only Manchester United player to feature in the list, and arguably one of the favourites to take on the England captaincy from Wayne Rooney. Vice-captain during Louis van Gaal’s tenure at Old Trafford, and having led out the Red Devils on countless occasions, Chris Smalling would be a safe choice for Gareth Southgate.

The centre back provides a massive commanding presence at the heart of defence and his experience of playing in big matches, along with having secured numerous titles at club level, will only count as a positive should he be picked as the new England skipper.

However, his rash decision making at times and lack of concentration in crucial moments may make Southgate think twice before trusting the 27-year-old with such a big role.

Jordan Henderson

Now the current Liverpool skipper and midfield replacement to Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson would for many be the automatic choice for the England captaincy.

With 32 senior international appearances already, the versatile midfielder is experienced at this level. His ability to captain his club side shows that he is a strong leader on and off the pitch who is more than capable of taking on the England role too.

An ambitious player with the quality to become one of the world’s best in his position makes Henderson a player who Southgate will have identified early on as a potential skipper. Many would be surprised should he not be given the national armband.

Harry Kane

Perhaps the most surprising inclusion on the list, however given his impressive goalscoring form for both club and country over the past two seasons, Harry Kane deserves an honourable mention to take on the captaincy.

Scoring 70 Premier League goals in 109 league appearances for Spurs has helped Kane to develop into one of the most formidable strikers in the world. Yet it is his ability to be a leader among men within a relatively young Tottenham side that makes him a contender for the England role.

At just 23, Kane looks set to have a fantastic career ahead of him and will no doubt lead the attacking line of the national team for many years to come. And if Southgate doesn’t pick him as skipper this time round then you would expect it to become a matter of when not if as to when he finally gets given the England armband.

Gary Cahill

Soon to become a Premier League winner for the second time in his career at Chelsea, and having won all major trophies available at club level, centre back Gary Cahill is the most obvious choice to take on the England captaincy from Rooney.

An accomplished defender who seems to get better with age, Cahill has become an extremely versatile player with fantastic technical ability and a good eye for goal, cementing himself in his position for both club and country over the years. And with 53 international appearances already, the Chelsea player has shown that he has the experience required to become a successful England captain.

There will be some doubts over his longevity as at the age of 31 he may appear to be entering the final few years at the top level. However, given his performances over the duration of his career, he Cahill looks set to become England’s next skipper. 

By Ryan Walker

This image was provided by Indolivescore ils.

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