In the world of football, the captain's role is often undervalued. They are often overlooked as they do not possess the same decision-making power as the manager.
However, the captain always makes the difference when it comes to pushing a team to become one that can take on any opponent on any given day.
The captain is a symbol of consistency and composure, he is the team's inspirational leader and motivates the players when the chips are down.
Captaining your boyhood club is a special feeling
Some of the greatest captains in football history have captained their boyhood clubs to tremendous success. The likes of John Terry and Carles Puyol come to mind when thinking about players captaining their boyhood clubs. They were arguably a part of their club's golden years and led their teams to unparalleled success.
Like them, there are many other footballers in the world right now who are key part of the first-team at their boyhood clubs. These players are fan favorites and stand a chance when it comes to leading their respective clubs in the future.
Here, we take a look at five such players who could become captains at their boyhood clubs somewhere down the line:
#5 Ansu Fati - FC Barcelona
Ansu Fati has been a fan favorite at FC Barcelona since making his debut for the Spanish side two years ago.
The youngster was sensational for Barcelona in his first season, breaking several La Liga and Champions League records. He scored in the league just six days after making his debut, aged 16 years and 304 days, making him the youngest ever goalscorer for Barcelona in La Liga. Fati also holds the record for the youngest ever goalscorer in Champions League history aged 17 years and 40 days.
Fati's performances in the first season drew comparisons to club legend Lionel Messi. He scored eight goals and provided an assist across 33 games in all competitions. His partnership with Messi really caught the eye of the fans and he soon became a favorite among the Culers.
The 18-year-old had a brilliant start to the 2020-21 season, scoring five goals and providing four assists in just 10 games for the Catalans. But an unfortunate knee injury kept him out for the rest of the season.
Fati is now back in training with the squad and has even taken up the iconic No. 10 jersey after the departure of Messi this summer. Barcelona fans were extremely happy that it was academy starlet Fati who had inherited the jersey.
If the youngster can pick up from where he left off, there's no doubt he will be an integral part of the club's future. Considering his current popularity among fans and players alike, he could definitely be appointed as captain of his boyhood club in the future.
#4 Marcus Rashford - Manchester United
Marcus Rashford has become an integral part of Manchester United since breaking into the first-team during the 2015-16 season. He has steadily grown in confidence and enjoyed his two best seasons in front of goal in the last two years, scoring 22 and 21 goals in all competitions respectively.
During his time on the pitch, Rashford has shown that he has what it takes to handle the pressure that comes with being United's main man.
The 23-year-old's game has also developed tremendously in recent years. He has continued to bulk up his body and expand his game beyond being a goalscorer - making him one of the most dangerous widemen in recent years.
The youngster is also not afraid to take up responsibility. He has stepped up in some crunch moments for both his club and country.
Rashford is also a model citizen off the pitch and contributes a lot to the community. He received an MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) for his campaign to extend free school meals during COVID-19 pandemic.
Rashford's capabilities both on and off the pitch make him a perfect captaincy candidate for his boyhood club in the near future.
#3 Presnel Kimpembe - PSG
Not many academy graduates have enjoyed success within the PSG first-team. But Presnel Kimpembe is an exception and has the quality to become a captain.
Kimpembe made his PSG debut in the 2014-15 season when he was just 19. While the Frenchman did not play much in his first two seasons, he became a regular on the team during the 2016-17 season. Since then, Kimpembe has been a key part of PSG's defense.
The 26-year-old has made more than 180 appearances in all competitions during this time and has won several domestic titles with the club. He was also part of the France squad that went on to win the FIFA World Cup in 2018.
Playing alongside the likes of Thiago Silva and Marquinhos at club level, Kimpembe has seen the defensive and leadership qualities required at the top level in close quarters. He is currently PSG's vice-captain after the departure of Thiago Silva last season and has also taken on the captain's armband in the absence of Marquinhos on several occasions. The defender has also been loved and adored by PSG fans since he came up through the ranks at the club.
Considering the above factors, there's no doubt that Kimpembe is the prime candidate to replace Marquinhos as the club captain in the near future.
#2 Mason Mount - Chelsea
Mount has already made more than 100 appearances for the Chelsea first-team since making his debut at the start of the 2019-20 campaign. An outstanding achievement for an academy product. Mount also played a key part in Chelsea's Champions League triumph last season, assisting the winning goal in the final.
Seeing his performances and attitude on the pitch, Mount has been tipped to become the club's next captain after Cesar Azpilicueta. Aged 22, he has already captained the team twice, once in an FA Cup game against Luton Town and then in a league game against Sheffield United last season.
Chelsea's most successful captain, John Terry, who is also an academy graduate, has backed Mount to captain both club and country in the future.
Mount definitely has all the qualities to become a captain. He's smart, hard-working and has also been vocal on the pitch. It wouldn't be surprising if John Terry's words come true as the years go by.
#1 Trent Alexander-Arnold - Liverpool
It's hard to remember that Trent Alexander-Arnold is only 22, considering the fact that he has been a key part of Liverpool's backline for such a long time.
Alexander-Arnold played a huge role in the Liverpool side that won the Champions League and Premier League in successive seasons. He is already one of the most experienced players at the club, having made more than 150 appearances since making his debut in 2016.
As such, he has also been consistently touted as a future Reds captain, something the Englishman hinted was one of his aims in a recent interview with the club's website:
"It's about just winning things, leading the team as well in certain ways, being more of a leader on the pitch, off the pitch for the younger players. Establishing myself in those kind of roles as a leader would be something I've got my eye on."
Jurgen Klopp has claimed that Alexander-Arnold will captain Liverpool one day after handing the armband to the youngster in a Champions League game against Midtjylland.
With role-models like Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Virgil van Dijk around him, Alexander-Arnold definitely has the right grooming to lead Liverpool into the future.