7th February 2014. The day that shocked, but mostly saddened, Manchester United fans up-and-down the country – “Manchester United skipper, Nemanja Vidic, will leave the club at the end of the season”.
The Serbian – or any previous United captain – was born to captain the club. He possessed everything that any manager in the entire world would love to have in the dressing room – an excellent leader, a no-nonsense way of dealing with things and most importantly, a magnificent defender on the field.
Once the news broke, Manchester United fans and football fans all over the world rushed onto social networking sites to voice their opinion on who should take the reigns from Vidic and lead one of the most successful clubs in the world out onto the field.
A few names have been thrown around as to who will wear the captains armband next season – players like Phil Jones, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher, Wayne Rooney and always, the humorous suggestion…Anderson.
But who really deserves a chance at making history and wearing the all important captains armband for the Red Devils? Here’s a few suggestions:
Carrick has been one of the biggest servants for Manchester United over the years.
Since joining from Tottenham in the Summer of 2006, Carrick has seen himself develop into one of the best midfielders in England and has five Premier League winners’ medals to show for it. The 32-year-old has also established himself in the England squad – gaining 31 caps since his debut in 2001.
However, Michael Carrick is actually older than current captain Nemanja Vidic, who is looking to move on as he gets closer to retirement. Would you want to give the captaincy to someone who may only be with the squad another 2 years, and even at that he may not feature week-in-week-out?
Moyes may want to go with a younger selection, possibly?
If Moyes is opting for someone young, as I previously mentioned, he may want to go with 21-year-old Phil Jones.
Jones has emerged as one of United’s young sparks since making the short trip from Blackburn to Manchester in the summer of 2011. The Englishmen was heavily scouted by Sir Alex Ferguson – one of the greatest managers to ever live – which speaks volumes of Jones’ talent and future.
The former Blackburn defender is well-renowned for his leadership on-the-field, which is even more impressive for a youngster. He is very versatile and can play almost every defensive position on the park – centre-back, right-back, centre-midfield.
A captaincy this early on in Jones’ career may backfire on David Moyes and the squad in general; however, it may prove to be a revelation and give Jones the step-ladder to go on and become one of the best defenders in England.
What a remarkable story this will be, if a man who spent a year out with illness, returns and captains such a team like Manchester United. And it could be the right move, after all…
The Scotsman, with current-captain Nemanja Vidic, has been a great servant to Manchester United Football Club since making his debut in 2002. Fletcher has been at Manchester United for the majority of his footballing career – since the very young age of 11. He watched on as his role models David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes all went on and represented Manchester United at the highest level.
The 30-year-old is also the current captain of Scotland, and has racked up 61 senior appearances in his time. But, as previously mentioned, the Scotsman hasn’t featured since 2011 through illness.
Fletcher, the captain of Scotland, may find himself captaining both his respective sides come this summer. A role he excels in internationally, may become a role he’ll excel in domestically.
And, finally, Wayne Rooney. This may come off as a little controversial but it’s important that I cover as many realistic possibilities as I can.
Rooney’s passion, desire and hunger on the field is something admirable. And it pays off. The English international played a huge part in the latter success of the Sir Alex Ferguson era, and even Ferguson himself tipped Rooney to become United captain one day:
“You can see the qualities Wayne would give as a captain: his determination, hunger, desire to do well,” Ferguson told The Telegraph back in 2009. “He always tries, no matter how the team is playing.
“He always gives 100 per cent and these are wonderful qualities for a captain. He exemplifies the spirit of the whole team and other players can take that on board. So there are good reasons for making him captain.”
However, Rooney may not be focused on Manchester United 100% of the time. He is – according to numerous sources – rumoured to be a keen on a move away from Old Trafford this Summer, if United fail to qualify for Europe.
Regardless of who leads Manchester United out on the opening day of the 2014/15 season, they will tasked with a huge job to do. And any one of the four players listed above are perfectly capable at succeeding at that job.