Who Should Be Manchester United’s Next Permanent Captain?8 min read
Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men might have slipped up and dropped points against Burnley in the latest midweek Premier League fixtures, but his team rose to the occasion when the going got tough after falling two goals behind.
The impressive comeback right at the very end of the match showed United’s newfound sense of determination, as well as their backbone that had been severely missing under José Mourinho in the latter stages of his reign.
Whether Solskjær is awarded the permanent job at the end of the season or not, the next full-time manager in charge of the Red Devils needs to mark his territory and appoint a new captain for the following season.
Here are my three contenders:
(LC’s pick for Captain)
A fan favourite of many Manchester United fans, Ander Herrera has been a loyal and reliable servant to the club since arriving from Athletic Bilbao in 2014.
Herrera’s performance levels over the years have seldom dropped to a noticeable level. In fact, the Spaniard is a player that is most known for his immeasurable consistency and immense work ethic, especially in the bigger matches that bring the most pressure.
From man-marking Eden Hazard successfully to playing Liverpool off the park at Anfield, Herrera has been involved in many games in which he has excelled. As loyal as they come, the Spain international was a former close lieutenant of Mourinho’s, carrying out the Portuguese manager’s instructions to the letter while on the pitch.
Although he might have grown up in sunny Spain, Herrera has shown more than most what it means to play for the Red Devils. His heart, passion and pure desire for the crest on his jersey is something to behold, and is explicitly why Man United fans adore him in the way that they do.
He is by no means the most gifted or talented player in the team, but neither was Gary Neville. Herrera simply understands what standard it takes to play for Manchester United and why it is so important for the club to keep on top of it.
He is the outstanding candidate.
David de Gea
(LC’s pick for VC)
The Spain international has been through thick and thin with Manchester United since arriving in 2011 under Sir Alex Ferguson.
While he might have struggled initially with the physicality of the Premier League, David de Gea has risen like a phoenix to become, arguably, the best goalkeeper on the planet.
With contract negotiations at an impasse at this moment in time, rewarding the Spaniard with the captain’s armband will go a long way in securing his future throughout the peak years of his career. That would, of course, not be the only reason to give De Gea the responsibility, but it would certainly give the goalkeeper an extra reason to remain in Manchester.
Man United’s level has fluctuated over the post-Ferguson era, but De Gea has rarely put a foot wrong when tasked with keeping the ball out of the net. He has been, by far and large, United’s best player in the five-and-a-half years since the Scotsman left his post, with fans at the Spaniard’s service for the countless times that he has saved them.
De Gea also became the first player in Manchester United’s history to win the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award four times, with three of those successes come in succession between 2014 and 2016.
The Spaniard is a leader on the pitch with players looking to him and trying to emulate his consistent, world-class performances. If he does get picked to become United’s captain next season, it will not be difficult for him to motivate his teammates.
The last remaining candidate from this current crop of Manchester United players is Paul Pogba. The France international has a World Cup to his name, among many more club titles that he has won with either Juventus or Manchester United.
As seen throughout the World Cup, Pogba transformed into his country’s leader in the dressing room as well as on the pitch. Giving inspired speeches, Pogba showed he has the courage and leadership qualities to have his players believing in what he was saying.
There is no doubt about it that Pogba has immense quality that is only matched by very few on the planet. With Solskjær in charge, the Frenchman has come out of shell with the shackles taken off and playing with the freedom that United fans have longed for.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 30, 2019
Pogba is a player that takes the game to the opposition and is incredibly difficult to stop in his tracks. The only potential downside to naming him captain would be if distracts him from his duties of just playing the game. A captain has to take others into account on a more regular basis, whereas fans and the coaching staff will just want to see Pogba work his magic with the ball at his feet.
He certainly would not be a bad option and should be considered, but it is perhaps more realistic to think that one of Herrera or De Gea is likely to be given the armband in the near future.