DAVID PYE'S COLUMN: Rooney was the obvious choice as captain but can he lead the team?

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney

First published in Sport The Bolton News: Photograph of the Author by , sports writer

WE have a new England captain ready for yet another fresh start following a dismal World Cup campaign and the task has fallen to the obvious choice of Wayne Rooney.

Rooney, who has also been appointed captain at his club Manchester United for the new season, had been tipped for the national job ever since Steven Gerrard decided to call time on his international career and coach Roy Hodgson confirmed as much yesterday.

But what sort of England skipper will the Liverpudlian be?

Well, he has many of the right cerdentials such as a history of off-field misdemeanours, a failure to perform to his undoubted best at tournaments and he has also had his differences with fans over the years. That’s a lot of the boxes ticked then.

In all seriousness, though, who else could Hodgson have picked that has the amount of international experience Rooney has gained in the past decade?

There is no John Terry or Ashley Cole anymore, the aforementioned Gerrard stepped down this summer and Frank Lampard followed suit this week, no doubt after being told by Hodgson that Rooney was going to be his pick when he announced his squad for next week’s friendly against Norway yesterday.

With the majority of the rest of the squad younger players, Rooney now has the chance to take responsibility and lead the way.

I am not so sure how important an on-field skipper is these days; it is more of a symbolic thing to wear the armband in my opinion.

There is probably more responsibility needed off the pitch in setting an example and doing the promotion work the Football Association requires from their leading man.

It will be interesting to see how Rooney takes to the role.

I am not a great fan of strikers being captain. When I was growing up, Gary Lineker had the armband for England and latterly, Alan Shearer did likewise.

I do not dispute they had the experience and leadership qualities but I think it is the same situation as having a goalkeeper as captain.

These players are at opposite ends of the field and it must affect their on-field influence.

The prefect positions for a captain for me are central defence or midfield. Those players are right in the thick of it and can bark out the orders without having to have the vocal volume of Brian Blessed.

Maybe Rooney can be the man to disprove my theory.

One thing’s for certain, there will be plenty of opportunity for rollickings if this summer is anything to go by.

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