Monday, 25 April 2011

Are some players given the captaincy for the wrong reasons?

To many people, the ideal captain is a charismatic leader on and off the pitch. A player who sets the standard. An individual who can bring the team together. And a player who is a role model on and off the pitch.

But it seems more often than not, that these imperative values which are a hallmark of a successful captain, are being overlooked by other factors.

A common occurrence is that players are given the captains armband in a vain attempt by the club to keep the player committed for a little longer.

One can think of many clubs who have adopted this strategy. Look at Carlos Tevez at Manchester City. Look at Abel Taarabt at Queens Park Rangers. And maybe more controversially, look at Cesc Fabregas at Arsenal.

A majority of football fans have questioned whether these players are suitable for the armband. The Manchester City striker Carlos Tevez, has been a hotly debated subject. Is he really a suitable individual for being a captain? Most think he isn’t. Carlos Tevez still hasn’t grasped the English language sufficiently. So this obviously hinders his influence on and off the pitch. As he cant get his message across to his fellow team mates. Perhaps a captain should clearly understand the language and can speak it sufficiently, so they can support and motivate their team mates.

Furthermore, with Tevez, it seems, from day one since he joined Manchester City. He has been unsettled and has been looking for a move elsewhere. Last season and the first half of this season, it seemed Tevez had his heart set on South America. Preferably Boca Juniors. However, now it seems the Argentine wants to move to Italy. This only emphasises the unsettled nature of Carlos Tevez. Surely, a captain should be an individual who stays loyal to the club, rather than angling for a move at every possible occasion. One must consider, captain Tevez even handed in a transfer request demanding to leave Manchester City earlier in the year. So much for the captains loyalty towards the cause.

Perhaps one would say, probably a Manchester City supporter that Tevez is a good captain. As he leads by example on the pitch. That is a fair point, too an extent. As Tevez has been the life beat of Manchester City in past two years. Everything centres around him. But Tevez has thrown strops on the pitch too. Earlier this season, Tevez threw a strop and showed his anger at being substituted. This is hardly the most suitable behaviour for your captain.

It seems Manchester City have made Carlos Tevez the captain as a method to keep the player contented and make him understand his importance to the team.

While Abel Taarabt, 21 of Q.P.R is another questionable captaincy appointment. The Moroccan international is a great player. But, he is a player who sadly, doesn’t like to pass and often has tantrums and disputes. Furthermore, the fact he is 21 and is the captain is alarming. Is it right a 21 year old is the captain of a Championship team? Perhaps it would be justified if the player had a better professional mentality. And didn’t clearly suggest that Q.P.R is a merely a stepping stone in his career.

A more controversial figure to question is Cesc Fabregas. Some argue, because of his experience and his professionalism on and off the pitch it makes him a good candidate for being the captain. However, there are serious question marks over Fabregas’ credentials as captain. Perhaps, Arsenal’s failings this season have made people ask more question of whether Fabregas is a good leader.

Football fans and especially Arsenal fans have a right to question him. The Arsenal players have lacked unity on the pitch. They team also does not seem to have any leadership on the pitch. The Gunners are missing a player who can settle the other players down and can support them. Just take the two Spurs results and the Newcastle results. For me, Fabregas may have the experience, talent and a nice personality. But he still isn’t captain material. He lacks the leadership mentality to galvanise his team mates.

However, the issue of giving the captaincy for the wrong reasons has been common for the past 10 years.

In 2003, Fernando Torres was made captain of Atletico Madrid. Torres at the time was only 19 years old. This was startling. It was startling simply because he was a teenager when he captained his side. Is that right? Surely a captain should be a player who has relative experience in the game. But of course, Torres is a world class striker, who At. Madrid were desperate to keep hold of. But is he captain material? When you think of Torres and the idea of him being captain it makes you chuckle. As today’s Torres is a bit of a stroppy striker who moaps around the pitch.

A common theme to all the players I have discussed, is that all these players have issues regarding their future. This emphasises the lengths some clubs will go to in order keep hold of their prized assets.

However, for all these examples discussed. One could easily argue that these players do lead by example on the pitch. As these players set the standard with their brilliant ability. However, the responsibly of being a captain extends to more than that.

It’s refreshing to know that in the Premier League and Europe that most players are given the captaincy for the right reasons. Take a look at Steven Gerrard, Carlos Puyol, Iker Cassias, Nemanja Vidic and perhaps even John Terry. All of these players are good examples of great captains and leaders.

But clubs are more desperate than ever to keep hold of their prized assets. A way in which the clubs feel they can cling onto these players is by giving the player the symbolic armband. And more clubs, be it small or large teams are now being tempted down this route, in a futile attempt maintain their star players.

It’s imperative that clubs try and avoid going down this route. Clubs must associate the captain’s armband with players who are the hallmark of a successful captain. Players who lead by example and represent the club superbly.

Certain clubs need to stop undermining the significant value of being the captain.

Things you may like to read

Why Arsenal's complacency and lack of professionalism has seriously hindered their chances this season -

Why Chelsea must drop Fernando Torres if they are to have any chance of success this season -

Just how good is Gary Cahill? -

1 comment:

  1. As a QPR fan I can shed some further insight on the embarrassment that is Adel Taarabt wearing the captain's armband. Basically it was part of the deal to persuade him to sign for the club in the first place, Adel has an ego which is unmatched in football and he wanted to be made to feel important above all others. He's not the real captain, Shaun Derry and Clint Hill provide the actual authority on the pitch whilst Taarabt has public temper tantrums and signals to the bench that he wants to be substituted when he's in a huff (worst case was away to Hull City last season). QPR have kowtowed to his demands and the eccentricities of his excruciatingly awful personality in return for him putting in enough outstanding performances to win us The Championship. Without Taarabt we would not have won the league, a painful but simple truth unfortunately.

    Whilst I think it's fair to accuse Warnock of undermining the importance of the captain's armband I think that looking at it pragmatically it has been something that has ultimately worked in our favour as honestly I think Taarabt would refuse to play if he wasn't given the captaincy, after all he just retired from international football due to the fact that he was named on the bench for a match against Algeria.

    Mark -


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