Will Jack Wilshere be leading the role of a captain after Steven Gerrard as a captain after the World Cup in Brazil? Gerrard turns 34 on the eve of the tournament and is even in a better shape than ever before so even if he decides to continue on to the European Championships in France when he will be 36 (if he really wants to extend his Liverpool career) he can still pull it off.
“I’ve got to assume it’s my last year’’ said the all-star captain. He’s been a good captain, looking after the younger and more nervous players off the pitch, drawing on his experience of homesickness at his first tournament, Euro 2000. He’s a leader on the pitch, not a screaming, fist-clenched type like a Tony Adams but with quiet authority and leading by whole-hearted example. Gerrard will be missed on and off the field.
Succession is difficult if you think about it. The sensitivities of the individuals involving the matter. The issue with England is complicated. It only gets worse when there are only few “real” leaders coming out of the Academy. The system is often accused of molding a players technique but not their characters. Obviously the directors do not agree and defend themselves by pointing out that in society today is not really breeding “responsibility takers”. Which is not half wrong?
Hodgson, the coach has little pool of candidates that follow in Gerrard’s foot steps. Jack Wilshere is one of them. Gerrard has approved of the choice of a successor. “He ticks a lot of boxes when it comes to other players following his lead,’’ said Gerrard. “I’m paranoid about putting too much pressure on a player, especially Jack, but he has the quality.’’
The Arsenal midfielder has accepted the challenge, talking about how he watched David Beckham captain England and always wanting to follow that example. “It’s a kid’s dream to captain your country,’’ said Wilshere. Yet he’s only 22, would have to deal with the intense media scrutiny and Arsenal would rather he focused on developing as a fine central midfielder rather than carrying the weight of the nation’s expectations on his shoulder. Yet Wilshere is strong enough.
Other candidates include Wayne Rooney, who has been a captain before for England and is the best player but it is a concern how he handles pressure and if it might distract him from the main task which is helping England win.
Gary Cahill, the Chelsea centre-half is in good form this season, is another popular player and would also appreciate the arm-band’s importance. Phil Jones, is another candidate, a man who responds strongly to the biggest challenges as seen when playing in the Bernabeu for Manchester United.