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Rooney best option for Man Utd captaincy

| 07.02.2014

Nemanja Vidic has given Manchester United another setback, with the news that he will be seeing out the remainder of his contract and leaving in the summer. Inter Milan are rumoured to be in pole position to snap him up.

As if the reigning Premier League champions weren’t in enough trouble, but now it seems the majority of the older, experienced players are looking to jump ship. The likes of Patrice Evra, Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs are all rumoured to be on their way out as well.

But who are the main contenders to replace Vidic as captain? With current vice-captain Evra’s future also very uncertain, there is no automatic stand-out replacement for the departing Serb. With odds of 13/5 to just make the top-four this season and with all the issues going on, United need to get this decision right.

David Moyes could be tempted to make his former Everton graduate Wayne Rooney the new skipper, in what would be the perfect move to convince the England star to remain a Red Devil. There are current odds of 2/7 for the Liverpudlian to be at United at the start of the 2014/15 season.

The 28-year-old is now the right age and is mature enough to lead out the England’s most successful league club. Rooney’s temperament is much improved as well and his nationality would be another plus – with Vidic and Eric Cantona the only non-native English-speaking official club captains in the whole United history.

Back in November, Moyes was even quoted as saying: “I think Wayne has always had the ability to be a captain. He’s got that love of football as the biggest thing because he loves the game and loves the ball and kicking it around.

“He’s a natural and, in his own way, leads by example in what he tries to do. In future years, he could be the skipper here,” the Scot added.

Former Arsenal and current Netherlands captain Robin van Persie would also be a good shout, as he has great experience of being a leader, but having only been at the club for under two seasons, it could cause more unrest amongst the group, rather than solve it.

Last season’s league top-scorer will be 31 by the start of next campaign so is definitely not the long-term option. As Rooney seems to be playing further and further back on the pitch as his career progresses, who’s to say he couldn’t end up in the middle of the park and play well in to his thirties, much like Paul Scholes?

Other options include youth graduates Darren Fletcher and the ever-improving Jonny Evans. The Scotsman was national captain up until his unfortunate illness, but it would be too risky to make him skipper as there is no certainty that he will be able to play week-in, week-out.

As for Northern Irish international Evans, although arguably United’s most consistent centre-back over the last two seasons, his profile doesn’t quite match captain status yet.

Michael Carrick could put his name forward for the job, but much like Scholes, the former Spurs midfielder seems happy dictating play rather than desiring a leadership role.

As for versatile 21-year-old Phil Jones, although widely touted as a future United and possibly England captain, it is way too soon at this point to give him such a responsibility. If he can stay fit, Jones, who has the honour of being compared to Red Devil icon Duncan Edwards by many, will become an outstanding player for club and country.

It is Rooney’s time now to be given the opportunity to show what he is made of. Despite not quite ticking all the boxes, he is the best and most obvious choice currently available at the club for the job.



Sam Barnard

Sam has been writing for Coral since January 2014, and is the assistant editor of the news site. As well as the main betting sports, football, tennis and cricket, he covers the likes of golf, F1 and darts too, the latter of which has become a particular favourite. Sam enjoys playing as much as writing about sports, but niggling injuries have limited his participation in recent years, so is happy to mainly watch the pros such as Manchester United, Yorkshire CCC, Raymond van Barneveld and even Gibraltar national football team instead.