Wednesday, 11 February 2009

What would we do if

we could choose the England captain?

I’m hopeful that what would we do if... might become a regular feature. One of us will set a question and I’ll post our collective answers up. The plan was to have them a bit more topical than this fledgling effort. Still its a classic debate hotly contested in pubs that it's not frowned upon to get change from a £1 up down the country.

The most important thing to say is that we were universal in our decision that the current incumbent doesn’t warrant his position. Moreover there were doubts as to whether he should be in the team given current form, his and that of others.

Caspar Salmon: Rio Ferdinand. Aside from his knowledge of the game and obvious interest in matters of strategy and football history - as evidenced by his insightful editorship of Observer Sport Monthly this weekend; apart from the obvious socio-political impact of having a black English football captain; besides his commanding affection and respect from the other players and being a world-admired defender; beyond all this, it would be a thing of wonder to have a rubber-lipped freak fronting the English team. We could get him to grow his hair out again, and perform a Haka-like dance with Peter Crouch before every match to freak the shit out of every opponent. Just a thought.

Kevin O’Neill: Gareth Barry should be the England captain. Being a Scot, and an Irish-Italian one, at that, I've got no sentiment of any kind for your national team. So you know my opinion counts more than the other jokers on here - Caspar is about as French as I am. Barry is a solid professional and by all accounts a decent guy, more than I can say for the other main candidates, Gerrard and Terry. You'll never see Barry dive or hassle a referee to book an opponent. He's weathered a difficult transfer saga (Liverpool stirring things up, surely not?) and come out the other side still a top performer for his club. He's even earned back the captaincy he lost after Liverpool's game of silly-buggers. Barry for El Capitan!

Ryan Taylor: Jimmy Bullard. OK so I might not be entirely serious with this suggestion. But I’ve thought about all the potential candidates and I honestly don’t think that there is an outstanding captain in and around the squad. It pains me to say it as self confessed Liverpool ‘hater’ but Steven Gerrard is the heir apparent to the captaincy. If only he’d be as passionate for England as he is for miraculously digging Bentiez out of the shit (or even half as passionate he is about Phil Collins). The non too serious point about Bullard though is that he is almost unique in football in that he posses a personality, an infectious positive influence that impacts on those around him. Sounds like the trait of a captain to me. The perfect antidote to the charisma free inhabitants of the post since…psycho?

Paul Morris: Steven Gerrard. “Obvious choice”, I hear you shout. Hells yeah! And there’s a friggin’ reason why. Any England fan with an ounce of patriotism would give his right nut (statistics suggest the left as the bigger, better nut) to see Stevie G perform like he does for Liverpool. These isles haven’t produced a midfielder of this strength, influence and ability since Bryan Robson finished bulldozing through the 80s. Despite the best efforts of Rafa’s questionable tactics and signings, Gerrard’s inspirational displays have just about kept Liverpool’s heads above the water. Affording him the same role and responsibility nationally as he has domestically will fill him with the self-belief that has been sorely lacking from the majority of his international appearances. Due to past on the field (diving, two-footed tackles) and off the field (bar brawls, Phil Collins) indiscretions his position as a national role model is somewhat questionable. Surprisingly, being a Scouser isn’t a good enough excuse anymore. But I think we’d all let him regularly donkey punch senior citizens if he gave us magical moments akin to Istanbul and the 2006 FA Cup Final.

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