Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has become the lifeblood of the club since his move from Everton in 2002.
For more than a decade the Englishman has been one of the Red Devils’ most consistent and reliable players as well as for his country.
The 27-year-old earned his first captaincy for his country this season after 79 appearances and 33 goals for his national side. For United he has now made 270 appearances and scored 139 goals to date.
Current United captain Nemanja Vidic is captain material at it’s very essence. He’s strong, determined, commanding, a leader and an organizer. However, now 31, the Serb has suffered with numerous injury setbacks and has even been linked with a move away from Old Trafford.
Vice-captain Patrice Evra is another United defender linked with a potential departure this summer. Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly keen on luring the Frenchman to the French capital to see out the twilight of his career.
Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are surely in their final or, at most, penultimate season with United and Rio Ferdinand, now 34 will unlikely be able to maintain his form and fitness at the highest level for very much longer.
So who exactly should take the armband? Darren Fletcher’s torrid time with illness puts him out of the frame, and Michael Carrick is the only other possible contender for me.
Robin van Persie is a senior player but he doesn’t have the history and the credibility that Rooney has with the fans and the manager. More often than not a defender is picked as captain – with good reason – due to their natural tendencies to be organizers and leaders. Goalkeepers are often picked for the same reason.
But I can’t see Rafael, Johnny Evans, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, or Alexander Buttner being ready to step up to the plate. For me there is only one man who represents the heartbeat, the philosophy and the tenacity of a club like Manchester United.
Wayne Rooney has matured from a petulant child with an attitude problem into one of the finest forwards in the world. His technique, his vision, his professionalism, discipline and his decorum have improved tenfold.
He has now acquired the vision and technique to play anywhere across the frontline – as an attacking midfielder, trequartista, deep-lying forward, second forward, or lone striker.
He operates in the channels in the way Paul Scholes has done for decades and when on form his finishing is as clinical as either Dwight Yorke or Andy Cole’s ever was.
But, more importantly, he loves the club, he loves to win, and he settles for nothing less than 100%. It is my firm belief that Wayne Rooney should be made the next Manchester United captain.