In light of the debate of whether John Terry should remain England captain following his disgraceful behaviour towards team mate Wayne Bridge, former United player and current United season ticket holder, Andrew Cole, has spoken about the role of the football captain.
“Captaincy in football is massively overrated, almost to the point of being irrelevant,” said Cole. “In cricket, a captain makes frequent, crucial strategic decisions. He often has vital input in selecting the batting order, he decides who bowls and when, sets fielding positions and strategy. Football captains are rarely anywhere near so important. In my whole career I can only cite Roy Keane as being, effectively, a boss on the pitch, dictating play tactically as well as emotionally, and even then Keano was often his master’s voice, for Sir Alex Ferguson. I hate to disappoint those who buy into the notion that every captain gives a Braveheart speech before a game, calling for his troops to die for him and the cause, but it’s a myth.”
Cole used the United example to explain his point further, looking at the different types of player who have captained us.
“In any given dressing room you can have 11 strong personalities, 11 captains, each capable in their role,” he continued. “Sure, some captains are shouters – Gary Neville – but so are many non-captains. Some captains are quieter and let their feet do the talking – Ryan Giggs. Others wouldn’t dream of telling you how to play, just lead by example by working hard in training and giving their all on a pitch – David Beckham. Does captaincy really require a unique temperament? No. I use Manchester United as an example because I know them best, but in recent memory Rio Ferdinand has been captain, so too Vidic, Evra, Van der Sar. It can be taken as an honour for the man with the armband but the captain’s identity, on its own, is never going to win you a match.”