In light of England's first game after the forgettable era of Fabio Capello tomorrow, and the heavily discussed issue of who the new England captain will be, I am going to give my verdict on who it should be, as well as my verdict on what the England side should be for Euro 2012.
Steven Gerrard is the favourite and the most popular verdict amongst fans and the media, but I wouldn't give the captaincy to Gerrard. The only thing I would give to Steven Gerrard would be a sarcastic thank you note for being such a failure for England during his career, as well as for being such an absentee over the last couple of years, often disappearing during international friendlies with 'injuries', only to appear for Liverpool the following weekend after a miracle recovery.
He shouldn't even be playing for England. It's time to move on from the likes of Gerrard, Lampard and Ferdinand, who have continuously disappointed for England over the last ten years. It was time for this before the last World Cup, nevermind now.
Germany set a great blueprint for this during the 2010 World Cup when they didn't play the likes of Ballack and instead put in players like Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Thomas Mueller, while promoting Bastian Schweinsteiger to a more senior role in the side. Yes, they didn't win it, but they showed big signs of improvement and have made themselves better candidates for winning trophies over the next few years by doing what they did during that World Cup. So I definately wouldn't give it to Gerrard.
The other candidates are Joe Hart, Scott Parker, Ashley Cole and James Milner. I wouldn't give to Ashley Cole for the same reason as Gerrard. I'm not a big fan of goalkeepers being captains as they can't speak to the strikers or midfielders much, so I wouldn't give it to Joe Hart, but I would give him the vice- captaincy because he is a regular in the England side. My captain would ironically be a Tottenham player, Scott Parker.
He's a natural leader, experienced and has the respect of the other England players. He captained West Ham inspirationally and would be a regular in the side if it was up to me. The only thing I'd do with Parker would be calming him down a bit, because he does run around like a mad man at times, which risks him getting frequently booked and sent off, like he did on Sunday. He also won the English player of the year award the other day so that shows he has the respect of the fans in this country, as well as the ability.
My ideal England side for the Euro's would be:
Richards Smalling Terry Baines
Cleverly Parker Wilshere
Sturridge Rooney A. Young
Obviously, this is dependant on injuries, fitness and form between now and the end of the season. I would include Terry for his experience and to help guide the younger players like Smalling, but would look to get him out of the side by the 2014 World Cup. I would only include Walcott if he can maintain a good level of consistent form between now and the end of the season, and Cleverly and Wilshere are dependant on their fitness going into the competition. Milner could come in for Wilshere if he isn't fit, and if neither of them are fit, I'd probably change formation so that there would only be two centre midfielders. Squad players would include: Stockdale, Gary Cahill, Kieran Gibbs (if fit), Rodwell, Adam Johnson and Alex- Oxlade Chamberlain. So, yes, I would go with youth. This will prepare the squad for the next World Cup, as well as being a good enough side to challenge for the European Championships this year.