Opinion: Jordan Henderson should be the England captain
The international break has arrived and the European nations are all set for their Euro 2020 Qualifiers. One of the most exciting teams to take part in Euro 2020 is England. The Three Lions will take on Montenegro and Kosovo at Wembley and the Fadil Vokrri Stadium in Kosovo, respectively.
Gareth Southgate seems the right man to take a young, almost teething squad of players, in the right direction. Another person who can help galvanize a team is the team captain. Team captains are extremely important. In cricket, the captain is tasked with the biggest responsibilities on the field. In football, although not as directly involved as in cricket, the captain does play an important role in helping the team gel together, inspire them when the going gets tough, berate teammates who are not performing to the expected level, and help calm down situations when games get tough.
When speaking about great captains, the likes of Franz Beckenbauer, Bobby Moore, Roy Keane, Francesco Totti and Steven Gerrard, among others, come to mind. These players were not only world-class performers but great leaders who commanded the respect of those around them.
After the retirement of Steven Gerrard and the decline of Wayne Rooney, England lacked a strong personality in the team, capable of being named as the captain. The likes of Gary Cahill, Jordan Henderson and Eric Dier wore the coveted captain's armband for a few games but the appointment of a captain was never made official.
When Southgate was appointed as the permanent manager of the Three Lions, one of his first moves involving his new-look England side was to appoint Harry Kane as the captain. Even though Kane has been one of England best, if the not the best, player since the start of the FIFA World Cup 2018, he isn't really captain material. At the time, Southgate may have adopted the strategy of handing the armband to the best player but now it seems that this new and young England team need a leader to be their captain.
From the current squad, one name that regularly crops up as a leader is Jordan Henderson. The English midfielder has been Liverpool's captain since Steven Gerrard's departure to LA Galaxy in 2015. He has played 250 games for the club and has captained them to victory in the 2019 Champions League Final and the 2019 UEFA Super Cup.
Having great achievements and winning multiple trophies make you a great player but a captain is the one who commands and leads the team on the pitch. Henderson does command the respect of his peers, which is clear from the way that his teammates respond to him on the field and talk about him off the field. He is often seen screaming at his teammates and standing up to opposition players during minor scuffles. He is also regularly involved in cooling down volatile situations.
In a match between Liverpool and Southampton, Jurgen Klopp replaced Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with Jordan Henderson in the 89th minute. When Henderson was on the touchline, ready to come on, he quickly signalled Virgil van Dijk, the stand-in captain, to keep the armband as the main motive was to win the game. This is one of the incidents that shows and proves why Henderson is a brilliant captain.
Although Harry Kane is a world-class player and a phenomenal finisher,he is not a natural leader and Henderson completely fits the bill to command the Three Lions. An England side that consists of numerous players who are young and are exciting to watch need an experienced leader to guide and nurture them. Southgate would be right to hand over the armband to Jordan Henderson who has proved his credentials and has shown the world that he is a top player.