John Terry during an England press conference ahead of the Sweden game.
Calling all captains
England's brave John Terry has had his captain's armband taken from him. Again. Now, the Three Lions are in search of a new hero. While England will surely never see a captain as valiant as JT, there must be somebody within its realm who can take the title? Here are the candidates. All eight of them.
Bachelor number one is the squad's best player, and at only 26-years-old has already accumulated 73 appearances with the Three Lions.* While he may not have the tenure of some of the other candidates, handing Wayne Rooney the armband means you many not need a new captain for two more World Cups. * - as of Feb. 25, 2011
Candidate number two is neither experienced in nor crucial to the national team, accumulating only 10 games in near a decade of potential service. And at 31-years-old, he may not have many years left in the team. But he's gritty and gutty and way captainy. Ladies and gentlemen, Scotty Parker.
There's no truth to the rumor that when Bob Seger sings "Like A Rock," he thinks of Gareth Barry, though the funny thing about using that simile as a compliment: It generally means there's nothing better to say about your subject. Not so with Mr. Barry. He could soon be Captain Rock.
Overlook his age, and Frank Lampard is probably the best candidate. However, Frank is 33 years old, losing time for both club and country. He's no longer a sure bet to start at any major international tournament. It's hard to give the armband to somebody who many not be in teh team come Brazil.
Gerrard's candidacy is so safe as to be boring. Respected by all, a vital player in the team, and a long time captain at club level, seemingly the only thing that could keep him from the armband is his age: 31 years old, a total that's manifesting itself in his inability to stay health. If the new coach wants a long-term solution, Gerrard may lose out.
If Lampard's too old, so is Ferdinand, whose body is breaking down faster than Frank's. Rio has also said he doesn't want the honor, having had it taken from him when Terry as re-anointed. While Ferdinand still cuts the captain's figure, his appointment would be more statement of intent from a boss than legitimate solution.
If the FA and its manager really, really want to think long term, give the armband to the man who could be starting at Qatar in 2022. Only 24 years old and already embedded in a position where longevity's a non-issue, Hart's appointment would put this captaincy nonsense to rest until our children were tricked into caring about it. There: We just talked ourselves into it. Joe for captain!
John Terry has the virtue of already having been England captain, though he has had that honor taken from him twice. Still, with England going into a major tournament, he has the experience the Three Lions may covet. Besides, given what's happened over the last two years, it would be naive to think he's been completely written out of this story.