Ian Holloway: I know Rooney is banned but he's still right captain


There is only one man who should lead England into the European Championship and it isn't Steve Gerrard. It is the bloke who isn't allowed to play in the first two games. Think that sounds daft? I don't. If England are to make a fresh start, and to have a chance of being successful, they need to make Wayne Rooney skipper.

Remember when Peter Taylor took over as caretaker boss for one match and made David Beckham captain? All the pundits were stunned, not least because the lad had been public enemy number one for getting sent off at the 1998 World Cup.

But it was an inspired choice, the making of Beckham as a footballer and as a man. Look at the service he has given to the country since.

It can be the same with Rooney. There are a lot of young lads in the national squad now and they have grown up watching Rooney. They saw him burst on to the scene and, most importantly of all, they know he is the best player in the country, so that gives him immediate respect.

Giving Rooney that extra bit of responsibility could be the last piece in the jigsaw. He is almost the complete player now, but this could transform him into the real deal.

He is also one of the few players who is a guaranteed pick every single game.

I've heard a few people suggest Joe Hart, for the reason that he'll always play. That's a definite no for me, not because of Hart's ability – he is one of the very best in the world – but you should never have a goalkeeper as captain.

I hated it when Peter Shilton was wearing the armband. How can your goalie properly encourage the team or get a point across to the centre forward? He'd have to give a message to the centre-backs, then it would be passed up the pitch like Chinese whispers. It could take ages.

Capello will probably go for Gerrard. He's the most obvious choice, and he is a great player. But is that not going backward a bit?

It is a pity Gary Cahill isn't an established international because from what I've seen he has all the qualities to be a leader and I think he will captain his country one day.

But for the time being, why don't we think outside the box for a change and kickstart a new era, which is what English football needs. Have Rooney as captain and name a vice-skipper who can stand in for the opening two games.

As for John Terry, the FA did exactly the right thing. It would have been a shadow hanging over the entire squad, the entire country in fact, from now until 9 July. Capello was in an awful position and the decision had to be taken out of his hands. The FA, for once, got it spot on.

But this isn't a jump on John Terry moment. We have to remember the lad is innocent until proven guilty – which is why I think it is right he is allowed to continue playing for his country – and none of us should judge him until the court case has taken place.

The whole sad episode has made me wish Paul Scholes was a bit younger and still pulling on an England shirt. Talk about an ideal candidate to be skipper. Not only is he one of the best midfielders this country has ever produced, his behaviour off the pitch is almost faultless too. He is probably the best captain we never had.

Let us hope that whoever Capello appoints realises his responsibilities and acts like England captain. For all the perks, being a footballer and getting chased around by the media 24 hours a day can be hard work. But behaving yourself on and off the pitch isn't too much to ask.

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