Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic is now 32 and whilst there’s certainly plenty of gas left in the tank for the Serbian international, who should new boss David Moyes consider as his predecessor?
Ordinarily a captain has to fulfill certain criteria in order to be given the armband, especially at a club as successful as the English champions – often a player with experience, maturity and age on his side will fulfill the requirements, especially if that player is a member of the back five.
There are, of course, exceptions to the rule – strikers and midfielders can and often do take on the honour and obligations, especially if they have certain leadership abilities such as England captain Steven Gerrard or Robin van Persie previously at Arsenal.
Supposing Vidic will continue to play at the top level for the next two to three years maximum, we’re looking at players in the age range now between 26 and 29 ideally. Of the current back four all apart from 25-year-old Jonny Evans are either a little too old or a little too young.
Rio Ferdinand is older than Vidic at 34, vice-captain Patrice Evra is 32, Chris Smalling and Rafael are 23, Alex Buttner is 24 and Phil Jones is just 21. First-choice goalkeeper David De Gea is 23. Unless David Moyes plans on bringing in an experienced replacement for Vidic, Ferdinand and or Evra (which I definitely wouldn’t rule out) then he may have to look higher up the pitch for his captain.
Michael Carrick is 32, Darren Fletcher is 29, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia are both 28 but I wouldn’t particularly associate either of them with leadership and influence, Marouane Fellaini is 25 and has only just arrived himself, Tom Cleverley and Shinji Kagawa are 24 and Nani is 26 but likely to play his last season this term.
Adnan Januzaj is just 18, Wilfried Zaha is 21, and up front Javier Hernandez is 25, and Danny Wellbeck is 22. That really only realistically leaves two suitable options from the current first-team squad.
Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are 28 and 30, respectively and, of all the players at the club those two are undoubtedly two of the biggest leaders on the pitch – both have that ability to take a game by the scruff of the neck, whip the crowd up being the team and get the job done.
Given that Rooney has been at the club almost a decade now, you would have to think it’d be him that gets the nod – especially given his deeper role as the pivotal cog in the machine.
image: © nasmac