‘Captain Marvel’ Bryan Robson does not believe there is a stand-out candidate to skipper England anymore.
Gareth Southgate’s reign as Three Lions boss has brought a change in tack when it comes to the captaincy, through a mixture of design and circumstance.
Wayne Rooney initially wore the armband but a lack of form led the England boss to experiment before his international retirement, meaning five different players have led their country out in his 10 games in charge.
Southgate is still weighing up exactly what to do in regards to a permanent captaincy – a decision Robson believes has been made harder by the options at his disposal.
“I don’t think it’s a burden,” former England skipper Robson told Press Association Sport when asked about the pressures of leading out the country.
“It’s just a player who can lead by example and enjoy the role and take on what the coach is saying and just help your team-mates.
“I think that’s part of it but I just don’t think there is any standout player out there, who stands out and you say ‘he should definitely be the England captain’.”
Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane, Gary Cahill and Joe Hart are the four current squad members to have skippered the side under Southgate, whose decision to share the armband is also aimed at improving leadership within the group.
England’s miserable displays at the last World Cup and European Championship underlined that it was an area that required work, but Robson, speaking on behalf Vauxhall at Toddington Warehouse’s 50th anniversary, believes there is still work to do come tournament time.
“I think it’s definitely working with the players, whether it’s a psychologist or you know just the staff trying to give them this confidence,” the Manchester United great said.
“Confidence to try and enjoy the tournament rather than be a little bit afraid of it because they’re thinking about all of the pressures rather than just relaxing and enjoying themselves.
“I think the England squad as a group, hopefully when we do qualify, when we get to that competition situation next summer, hopefully they can mentally handle it.
“If they do, we know that there is a lot of ability within the squad. But that’s still, for me, a part that England need to work on.”
Another area where there is no easy fix is in midfield, where the lack of options has been highlighted by Southgate.
It is also an area of concern for Robson but he believes England’s solution could be Dele Alli, once the Tottenham man returns from the avoidable suspension for a rude gesture that rules him out of Thursday’s World Cup qualifier against Slovenia.
“I think there is a little bit of shortage since Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard retired,” he said.
“Trying to bring in the quality players, you know, in that area, there’s nobody actually standing out there at the moment.
“That’s why I believe that Gareth Southgate should maybe look at Dele Alli not playing off the forwards and maybe playing in a central role because that’s where he started to get his reputation, where he was doing really well playing in that central role.
“Maybe he is the one to look at in that position.”
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Source: By PA Sport Staff
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