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Who should be Manchester United’s next captain?

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With Michael Carrick retired, who should replace him as skipper? Pogba? Valencia? De Gea?

From Sir Bobby Charlton to Roy Keane to Wayne Rooney, Manchester United’s roster of captains has left an unforgettable legacy on the club’s dynamic history. A representation of the club on and off the pitch, wearing the captain’s armband validates not only your manager’s trust in you, but also your teammates. After twelve years and five Premier League titles at the Theatre of Dreams, reigning captain Michael Carrick will be joining José Mourinho’s coaching staff, marking a vacancy in the role once again. With several current players worthy of the honor, the Portuguese manager faces the difficult task of selecting a suitable replacement. With a decision to be announced soon, let’s analyze some candidates who deserve to join the company of the aforementioned legends.

Antonio Valencia

Should Mourinho decide to follow a traditional approach and select the club’s longest serving player as skipper, then the Ecuadorian would be United’s next captain. Regarded as one the best right-backs in the world, Valencia also serves as the captain for Ecuador’s national team. During Carrick’s injury spell this year, Valencia was Mourinho’s choice to lead the club onto the pitch the most out of any player. A consistently fine athlete, Valencia has earned the respect of not only the managerial team but also the United fan base. However, at 32 years old, Valencia might be overlooked for the role if the Special One insists on selecting a younger player who will be with the club longer.

David De Gea

Rumored to be Mourinho’s chosen captain already, the Premier League’s newest golden glove winner has embodied every quality in a natural born leader. Arguably the reason behind United’s second-place finish, the Spanish keeper’s promotion to captain would furthermore silence any conversation surrounding a summer move to Real Madrid. While it isn’t uncommon for keepers to serve as captains, De Gea’s quiet personality on the pitch doesn’t lend itself to the outspoken, sometimes blunt demeanor traditional captains have.

Romelu Lukaku

Mourinho’s £75 million man has proved to be worth every bit of his transfer fee. In his freshman year at Old Trafford, he reached 100 Premier League goals and became United’s 2017-2018 top scorer with 27 goals across all competition. The passion Lukaku shows on the pitch is admirable, and Mourinho’s comments following this month’s victory against Arsenal shows a mutual respect between the two. While his appointment after one season could be met with skepticism, the Belgian is on a five-year contract with an option for a sixth. If Mourinho is looking for that ideal man to lead his club into this next chapter, Romelu Lukaku just might be that guy.

Nemanja Matić

One of Mourinho’s most trusted lieutenants, Nemanja Matić could very well be the man most poised to succeed Carrick. Second to only David De Gea in minutes played in the Premier League this year, the Serbian midfielder’s mental toughness and adaptability on the pitch is precisely the level of commitment Mourinho expects from his players. His appointment will likely be well received by most, as Matić’s inaugural year in Manchester has been a success in terms of form, depth and iconic goals. While he doesn’t strike me as someone who could assume an assertive stance necessary to invigorate the squad facing a two-goal deficit at the half, his post-match interviews have always included a touch of class each previous United captain has possessed.

Paul Pogba

Having been named Captain for five consecutive matches this past year, Paul Pogba’s qualities speak for themselves on the pitch. Despite the lukewarm relationship he and Mourinho are rumored to have, when awarded the opportunity to get into advanced positions and become involved in goal-scoring opportunities, the Frenchman becomes the foundation for United’s success. Similar to De Gea, Pogba’s appointment would furthermore suppress any upcoming summer exit talks. Pogba’s confidence is always clearly visible through his body language, and even in moments of frustration he still takes great pride in being a Red Devil. Lukaku even lauded him as one of the reasons why he joined United last summer, and his elevation in the captain’s role could be an extra boost to draw Mourinho’s top targets this summer.

The eventual captain will have large boots to fill, as Michael Carrick exudes an impressive level of humility that Manchester United fans will ultimately miss. Choosing the right skipper could be the key to Jose Mourinho’s success next season, so I imagine this decision won’t be met without heavy consideration.

Poll

Who should be Manchester United’s next captain?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Antonio Valencia
    (96 votes)
  • 20%
    Paul Pogba
    (105 votes)
  • 45%
    David De Gea
    (232 votes)
  • 2%
    Romelu Lukaku
    (12 votes)
  • 10%
    Nemanja Matić
    (52 votes)
  • 2%
    Other (answer in comments)
    (11 votes)
508 votes total Vote Now