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Jun 26, 2014

England's captaincy quandary

Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard's England futures are in considerable doubt, with the national team's captaincy also up for debate.

Roy Hodgson has many big decisions to make over the next couple of months but none is bigger than choosing who will be England's captain for the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. Steven Gerrard has yet to decide on his international future but Hodgson has already said he has asked him to carry on playing and to continue to be his captain -- and it's a big call for one of the best players of his generation.

Also, Liverpool must come into his thinking because of the extra demands of the Champions League. Frank Lam‎pard is vice captain and in a similar situation. He's 36, undecided on his future, and Hodgson wants him to stay on. But even if they do, Hodgson may decide neither is guaranteed and may need to pick and choose their games.

If Lampard is going to the US then a step down in football may mean he plays less for England. If Gerrard keeps himself available, he can still have a big influence. Both can have a good influence on the dressing room as well as the younger players. It would be good for them to be around.

If a new captain must be picked, then surely it will be Wayne Rooney. At the moment, he's still England's most talented player. Also, some players get an extra 10 percent and rise to the occasion from being captain. Maybe it can help Rooney in that regard.

I think in the longer term, Jack Wilshere will be a good captain -- maybe when Rooney retires. Keepers rarely make good captains in my view. There are good examples -- like Italy's Gianluigi Buffon -- but generally they don't.

‎England do have some promise for the future despite the dismal World Cup campaign, but they need the right leaders. Tactically, I think Hodgson has been exposed in this tournament, and I don't think he's got the best or most out of the players. But he has some good young players to take England forward like Luke Shaw, John Stones, Ross Barkley, Wilshere, Raheem Sterling and so on.

However, they also need leadership on the pitch. It is now hard NOT to qualify for the European championship. But after a demoralising World Cup, they need to pick themselves up again.

Getting the right leader on the pitch is central to that. I remain a big Gerrard fan, and he'd still be my first choice. But if he retires, or it's decided that he picks and chooses his games, then Rooney is the best choice.

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