Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has been backed by goalkeeper Joe Hart to become the next England captain ahead of important World Cup qualifying matches and friendly internationals. What are the positives and negatives if Rooney is made captain?
Love him or loathe him there can be little argument that Wayne Rooney is one of the most effective players in an England shirt. He has had his problems at times but then so have many members of the current squad. The retirement of John Terry means that England are searching for a new captain and as Rio Ferdinand’s career for England appears to be over, Rooney is one of the main choices.
One of the positives of this, which could also be seen as a weakness, is that Rooney is a typically English sort of player. He leads from the front, gets stuck in and isn’t afraid to stand up for any of his teammates if he feels they are getting pushed around by other players or aren’t getting enough protection from the referee. In an essence, he wears his heart on his sleeve and as England fans that is one of the only things we always want to see from our captain.
In terms of his role within the team Rooney is very similar to the newly retired Terry in the respect that he knows the ins and outs of his own job. Therefore, he can give a little extra to other members or areas of the team that need it. If Roy Hodgson was going to use Rooney in different roles, as is sometimes the case at Manchester United, then he would need to focus on himself more than others. One of the things a team wants to see their captain doing is actively helping everyone else.
“I think it's between Wayne Rooney and Wayne Rooney if we are going to go on experience and how captains have been chosen in the past,” Joe Hart told sky Sports.
The major worry with Rooney is his discipline and how such a massive responsibility like this will impact upon him. Rooney is the sort of player who will chase down the ball and launch himself into a tackle if he has played a poor pass or switched off for a second which has led to him being tackled. There have already been examples where this has worked against England, Rooney was sent off in the 2006 World Cup against Portugal and he was sent off in the European Championship qualifier against Montenegro.
The other major concern with Rooney taking over the captaincy is how it is going to impact on his form. There are some suggestions from within the football world that Rooney should be left alone to do what he does best, which is hunt around the pitch looking to score goals. If he actively has to worry about multiple things in the middle of a game then he will not be entirely focused on the sole reason for his place in the team.
In short, we would all love to see Rooney wearing the captain’s armband because he is the definition of everything that English football is all about; passion, pace, power, respect and attitude. Let’s just all hope he can keep a lid on it the next time someone nutmegs him at Wembley.