The candidates for the Manchester United captaincy ahead of the 2019/20 season


Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a big decision to make ahead of the new Premier League season which starts in just over a fortnight with United hosting Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday 11 August 2019. The decision is who will captain the squad this season. Antonio Valencia, the previous club captain left the club this summer.

There are a number of options for Solskjaer to choose from which range from goalkeeper David De Gea, fullback Ashley Young, central defender Victor Lindelof to midfielder Paul Pogba. There are other players, who could be a sort of wild card option along with any further new signing Solskjaer will make before the transfer window closed in two weeks time.

Here are reasons for (and against) players becoming the captain for the forthcoming season.

David De Gea

The Spanish number one could well be the best option for the captaincy role at the club. It could give him the challenge he needs to commit his future to the club for the rest of the best days of his career. De Gea had his contract extended for another year based on the clause in the contract he signed when he nearly left the club in the summer of 2015. There have been many reports of the goalkeeper signing a new contract this summer but so far, nothing has become official.

Whilst De Gea could make a good captain, he should commit to the club first. Solskjaer will rate him as a leader and recently he has suggested that he could step up and become a leader in the team, which has been lacking one for some time now. De Gea as the captain could be a good move for Solskjaer and the player himself as he will have committed to the club that he so wants to be a part of. He is one of the longestserving players at the club and will be respected like any other long-serving player.

Victor Lindelof

The Swedish central defender had a great season last season and was the first name on the team sheet as far as central defenders go. Finding him a partner which can not only bring the best out of the pair is what Solskjaer needs to do this summer. Some supporters have suggested that Lindelof deserves to be the captain next season. For me, he is a contender but needs a bit more time at the club in order to captain the team. So far so good though. In the future, the Swede could well be one of the best defenders to play for the club.

Lindelof could well be that voice in the defence that is needed in order to push his defensive partner, and those ahead of him in midfield and further forward but for me, there are players who seem to be more respected in the team based on the fact they have been there the longest. Solskjaer will not want to upset the dynamic of the team which giving the captains armband to an effectively new player in the team could cause. Players such as De Gea, Young and others might be more respected by the majority of the squad but there is not reason Lindelof could not be a voice within the squad, leading from the back.

Ashley Young

The 34-year-old seems the most likely player to be named the club captain this summer, whether people agree with it or not. Young is the joint second longest-serving player at the club right now, behind Chris Smalling arriving at the same time as Phil Jones. Young is respected by his teammates, despite his form taking a massive dip over the last year. Young could be the club captain in a similar fashion as Valencia last season, playing a small part on the pitch – a captain does not need to play.

Young has been a great player for United, albeit as a winger rather than a fullback but over the past few seasons, he has offered something that was lacking in the squad. With Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw likely to occupy the fullback roles and Diogo Dalot likely to rival the former, Young might have to settle for a bit-part role as a fullback this season, which may not be good for him but in terms of competition, it could be the best option for United right now. Like Valencia, he could be a good captain off the pitch with a vice-captain who plays more doing the on-pitch duty.

Paul Pogba

Many supporters would like to see the Frenchman as the captain of this club. However, first of all, something needs to be established. Does Pogba need a new challenge away from United or is he fully enlisted in the cause for the club? Three years ago, he came back to the club because he had unfinished business. Does he want to change that or does he still want to have unfinished business at United? Pogba will need to think about a few things before accepting the armband, if it is offered to him.

Over the past few seasons, Pogba has emerged as a player with the ability but seems to have played only when Paul Pogba wanted to. In order to captain this team, that needs to stop right there and the hunger, thirst and determination to succeed need to become a major factor in his game. Pogba has everything in his locker to be the leader in this team but if he does not have the desire to lead the team, this would not be the right move for Solskjaer or the player.

Other candidates

I have been keeping an eye on social media for comments from supporters who think other players should be considered for the captains role in the team. Names mentioned are Marcus Rashford, Chris Smalling, Nemanja Matic and even Anthony Martial. I am surprised by some names which have been mentioned. Smalling is the most senior player at the club this summer but that does not mean he should be named the club captain. Right now, the best thing he can do is win his place in the team back, which might be made more difficult should a new defender arrive.

Rashford is an honest player to be named but this season is going to be one for him to show his best at the club. He is likely to be the main striker in the team and he will need to knuckle down and bring the goals the club desperately needs to get back on the road to success. Naming him the captain will only complicate matters and his has his entire future ahead of him, if this is something he wants to achieve in the future. Matic seems to be out of form and will be in the same predicament as Young, not playing much so that option is out of the window too.

When Martial was mentioned, despite his honest talent, I did laugh. So many supporters seem to overrate him massively. He has been poor for the last few seasons and has hardly looked happy at the club. He signed a new long-term contract but that does not mean he has made it. In a few years, if he starts to do what he talent suggests he can do, there is no reason why he cannot be a contender for the captaincy but for the immediate future, the best thing the Frenchman can do is put his head down, listen to the advice that he has been given and work towards becoming that player his talent could help make him.

A new signing?

United have been strongly linked with the likes of Bruno Fernandes, an attack minded midfielder from Sporting in Portugal also the captain of his team. Whilst it is not certain that United will sign him; reports seem to contradict with some suggesting that there is interest and others suggesting that there isn’t. However, for a new player to come into the team and be given the captains armband might not be the best option.

The same could be said for Harry Maguire, which currently plays for Leicester City, although there is a belief that his time at the club could be all but over with United waiting in the wings. I don’t think allowing a new player to become the captain just after they have signed is the best thing for the squad dynamic. However, like with Lindelof and others, being a vocal player in terms of leadership will not be a bad thing in the team.

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