After months of speculation and an army of black & white cab drivers insisting it’s the most important decision of the World Cup, Harry Kane has been confirmed as England Captain.
The decision was unsurprising, it was always going to come down to Kane and Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson and although I’d have gone for the Liverpool man Kane is a sensible choice. Kane is unquestionably England’s talisman and an absolute certainty to start every game for which he’s available- starting with the friendly against Nigeria.
Southgate has waited 20 months to make the appointment whilst plenty have lambasted the England manager on social media for not making the decision earlier. Southgate has been very clear why he waited- he wanted to develop a leadership group and establish a culture of collective responsibility rather than throw the weight of the side behind 1 man.
It’s well-known Southgate disliked the cult of personality that accompanied the captaincy when David Beckham wore the armband towards the end of his own international career. Several players from the 2002 World Cup squad most recently Danny Mills have spoken of how Beckham’s celebrity and power in the camp became overbearing. Kane doesn’t appear to have a taste for the celebrity lifestyle Beckham clearly loved and his down to earth persona should work well for England in Russia and it seems sensible in an era when England seem short of leaders that Southgate would work on the collective rather than an individual.
Ultimately obsession over the captaincy remains a peculiarly British and particularly English obsession. Perhaps it’s due to the importance of captaincy in Cricket? Perhaps it’s those images of Bobby Moore with the Jules Rimet Trophy that do the rounds every four years? Ultimately the importance of the captaincy is grossly overstated, but at least the nation’s taxi drivers can sleep easy now and stop jamming the Five Live phone-ins.