2018 seems a long way off and it is – by the time the World Cup in Russia rolls around, who knows, we could have world peace, we could have cured cancer, we could even have technology to make time travel possible. Who knows?
But, back to important matter, who will be England captain? In just under five years time the Three Lions are going to need a leader. He’s going to need to have experience at both club and international level which means he’ll likely need to be between 25 and 29 now.
1) Joe Hart
The current England number one is not so undisputed but, whilst he’s having some teething troubles so far this term both with Manchester City and Roy Hodgson’s England squad, I would suspect things will have sorted themselves out by 2018 by which time the goalkeeper will be 31 and likely a world class stopper. The last captain who was a goalkeeper was David Seaman. Since then the armband has gone to defenders and midfielders.
2) Wayne Rooney
The current England and Manchester United number 10 is my pick for the armband – despite being something of a liability as a youngster, Rooney has developed and matured to become one of the finest footballers of his generation, a world class goalscorer and true leader and champion for club and country. He’s 28 now and will be turning 33 in the summer of 2018 – the perfect age and probably the perfect technical level if he can sustain his fitness.
3) Jack Wilshere
However, perhaps the England boss by then – whether it’s Hodgson or not – might opt to give the armband to someone for the long-term with the future in mind. 21-year-old Jack Wilshere has had some ups and downs already in his career with both his fitness and his behavior but by the summer of 2018, the Arsenal midfielder will be 27 years old and, if he continues his development, perhaps the best midfield playmaker of his generation. He’s certainly got the leadership capabilities and the spirit of a captain, even at his tender age and would be the most obvious heir to Gerrard for the future.
4) Phil Jones
Much the same can be said of 21-year-old Manchester United defender Phil Jones – he’s undoubtedly got the quality as well as the focus, hunger and commitment to become one of the best in the world. By 2018 in Russia he’ll also be 27 and given his position, could very well be a future England skipper.
5) Leighton Baines
An outsider most definitely is the 28-year-old Everton left-back who, were it not for the superb career of Ashley Cole, would be England’s answer to Germany captain Phillip Lahm. Cole is now 32 and will likely not make another tournament for the Three Lions and Baines will almost certainly pick up where the Chelsea fullback leaves off in England’s back four. By 2018, Baines will be 33, the same age as Gerrard now, and could be considered for the captaincy but, I suspect it would take a strange set of circumstances for the Toffees man to get the not.
image: © daly3d