The clichés were in full force, with Gareth Southgate naming Harry Kane as England captain for tomorrow’s game against Slovakia – this will be the Tottenham Hotspur’s striker’s third time wearing the armband for the Three Lions.
Southgate recycled the usual superlatives that an English captain is deemed to require, whilst Kane, himself, pretended it was an honour, and that his bucket list was now near completion.
Harry Kane’s last eight days:
—Hat-trick at APOEL
—Brace at Huddersfield Town
—Named England captain vs. Slovenia
— B/R Football (@brfootball) October 4, 2017
“His leadership qualities are invaluable to us as a team and he is in a good moment. I have known him for a long time and he is improving all the time.
“I haven’t’ decided yet [if we will have a full-time captain.] We saw potential leaders in the group at the start. What’s important is that the lads who have led the team think about integrating the squad, the moments to step forward, the moments to have a quiet word with people.
“You are talking about leadership experience that comes over time.”
The relevance of a captain has long gone – Italy’s captaincy is always given to the player in the starting XI with the most caps, as a mark of respect.
The newfound irrelevance of the armband means that the
proud Brexiteers out there, who see off a pint of IPA in 2.4 seconds, couldn’t even really be bothered to churn out the usual diatribe of ‘passionate and getting stuck in’ qualities about their vote for captain.
“It makes me very proud, growing up as a kid you dream of playing of your country and being captain as well. There are plenty of leaders in this team and other guys are going to have a go to see how it feels.
“I don’t think having an armband on your arm makes a difference to how you play. I will go out there to try and win and score goals. There are plenty of players on the pitch who will help each other out when the going gets tough as well.”
Perhaps that’s more to do with the fact that there’s an acceptance that English football no longer produces these archetypical ‘1970s nutters’ in the middle of the park or the heart of the defence; the candidates seemed to be Gary Cahill, Jordan Henderson or Joe Hart – hardly fear-inducing characters.
So why not give it to the bloke who is going to give you the most chance of not losing to Iceland at a European Championships?
Ultimately, no one cares, and the captain’s armband is no longer a point of note at international level, and hopefully it won’t be too long until domestic football stops looking for the new Roy Keanes and Patrick Vieiras, as well.