- Gareth Southgate will continue to rotate his captain selections for England
- The Three Lions still do not have an official captain ahead of the World Cup
- Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson are among the frontrunners
Gareth Southgate is willing to extend his experiment of rotating the England captaincy into the World Cup, with the national team likely to travel to Russia without a defined leader.
Southgate is also planning more away days for his players, similar to the Royal Marines training camp the squad attended in June, in order to toughen up the team psychologically.
The captaincy has been seen as crucial in past tournaments but Southgate is happy to go into the tournament without a nominated leader as he feels that spreading the burden between Harry Kane, Eric Dier and Jordan Henderson has shown clear benefits.
England’s hunt for a permanent captain will continue as the team prepare for the World Cup
He may even introduce a Spanish-style system of naming the player with most caps as captain. This would favour Joe Hart (75 caps), Gary Cahill (58 caps) and Henderson (36 caps). However, that trio are under pressure to make the starting XI, which would move Raheem Sterling (35 caps) or Adam Lallana (33 caps) into contention.
‘The process has been really revealing for us as a group of staff to watch, but also a good experience for the players to feel that responsibility and to share the ownership,’ Southgate said.
‘Too much has fallen on, in particular, Wayne’s (Rooney) shoulders in the last few years. And now there’s been opportunity, even in meetings and on the training pitch, for others to step forward and make the contributions and give an opinion, which I think’s really important. Because they’re the guys on the field that have to make decisions.
Gareth Southgate is happy to continue rotating the duty to find the perfect candidate
The boss may even adopt the Spanish system of captaincy via caps, which favours Gary Cahill
‘I’m not averse to what the Spanish do, where the most capped player does it every game.
‘There have been times where having one leader is important. But I feel as if the modern world is a little bit different and the shared responsibility becomes a more important thing.’
Southgate is also ready to organise testing, team-building trips, such as the two-day camping trip to Devon with the Marines.
‘That sort of shared hardship is a good thing to go through. We had that in the last half-hour against Brazil as well, which is the most invaluable hardship you can go through, because you’re on the pitch, and you’re digging in for each other and getting that relief of keeping a clean sheet against arguably the best team in the world at the moment.
‘I don’t just want to go and do what we’ve done before, it’s going to be a bit different.’