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Wayne Rooney: England's Captain?

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Recently, Wayne Rooney has voiced his desire to be captain for club and country. The question is whether he's the right man for the job.

Scott Heavey

It has been quite a few weeks for Wayne Rooney, first come the contract extension with Manchester United which would tied him to the club until 2019. He'll be rewarded handsomely, as it is rumored that he is set to earn £300,000 per week. Obviously, whatever differences he may have with David Moyes have been buried in the sand and interest from Chelsea or Real Madrid is in the rearview mirror.

Then, with Manchester United's current skipper, Nemanja Vidic set to leave the Old Trafford side and move to Italy to join Inter Milan, it is reported that Wayne Rooney is the most favored candidate to take over captaincy of the Red Devils. Not only that, he also made it no secret that he would love to be England's skipper, saying that he "would take it with both hands". It is not out of the question why Rooney should be considered for the captaincy of both club and country, at Manchester United, Rooney is one of the senior player, and in England national team, Steven Gerrard's time with England after the World Cup is numbered. The question now, is Rooney the right man for the job?

To date, Rooney has only captained England twice (against Brazil in 2009 and San Marino in 2012), partly because England have other more senior figure around with the likes of David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, and now Steven Gerrard serving as captain. However, those names have seen the back of their England days (or soon in Gerrard's case) which is why it is only logical that as one of the senior names in England's squad, Rooney should be a candidate to be the next skipper. In fact, with 89 caps Rooney is the most capped player in England's squad (excluding Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard, whose England days are also numbered).

In terms of leadership, Rooney is not a natural-born leader. He is not Tony Adams who was appointed skipper of Arsenal when he was 21 (which he held until he retires in 2002). Furthermore playing as a striker means that Rooney is not subject to the kind of communications and coordinations that occur between defenders and goalkeepers. Rooney also doesn't oozes charisma like Roy Keane, a guy you know that you won't want to mess with when he's on the pitch (unless you're Patrick Vieira). Rooney also had to dealt with the growing pains of breaking out as a 16-year old and being anointed as England's savior, which may contribute to this list of incidents throughout his career. On two occasions with England, Rooney got himself red-carded, against Portugal in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final and in the penultimate game of Euro 2012 qualifications against Montenegro (which resulted in a two-game suspension for the first two group matches in the Euro group stage). Though it can't be known for sure whether if those red-cards wasn't handed, England would achieve better, the point is that as one of England's key player, Rooney should've realized that his action doesn't do England any good.

At the end of the day, England's next skipper will be decided by Roy Hodgson (whether he stays or go after the World Cup is a subject for another day). Rooney, despite what the signs suggest, may well be England's next captain and grew into a fine captain at that. Perhaps similar to David Beckham, in the sense that he too (in my opinion) wasn't a natural leader, who had been sent-off in World Cup '98 against Argentina and made public enemy following that incident. It would be somewhat a gamble which carry some risk in handing Rooney the armband, however if Rooney is able to repay the faith that is given to him, then it might be one worth taking.