Vincent Kompany has been the captain of Manchester City since 2011, but with his testimonial coming this September, it’s probably the right time to think about life after the Belgian hangs up his boots. A combination of injuries and selection decisions has seen Kompany miss a number of games over recent years, and with plenty of candidates being seen in the armband, who should be Vinny’s permanent replacement?
David has been the vice-captain of choice since the departure of Yaya Touré and Pablo Zabaleta, and regularly started wearing the armband in Pep Guardiola’s first season. You can’t imagine that Merlin is much of a loud presence on the pitch, but you can see him being hugely influential behind the scenes and there are few better role models in football for young players to follow, as the likes of Phil Foden have testified.
He’s probably the odds on favourite to get the nod for the captaincy, but could be overlooked if the club want to go for a more long-term option, especially considering his poor form in the second half of this campaign.
Soon to be 34, Fernandinho is the oldest person on the list. He’s currently third choice for the captaincy, but regularly took on the role last season during Kompany and Silva’s absences. Whilst he may be getting on, his evergreen body and seemingly irreplaceable role put him in a good position. You get the feeling that Ferna will be at City until he retires or the club no longer need him, and he could be 45 by the time that happens.
Agüero is a City legend. He’s the club’s record goalscorer, consistently scoring 20+ goals a season, and netted the most important goal in the club’s history. He’s the gaffers’ fourth choice captain, and led the team out against Wolves in last season’s successful EFL Cup campaign, but unlike most of the others players on this list, giving him the armband doesn’t excite me at all.
Despite an energetic and unselfish performance with the armband against Spurs, giving Kun the captaincy is a formality more than anything. Though his consistency is so important for the team, he doesn’t strike you enough as captain material to be given the role permanently. Here’s hoping we don’t have to hand him the captaincy, like we did with Carlos Tevez, just to keep him at the club.
Kevin de Bruyne
KDB led the team out against Bristol City last January but has had the armband before then and is officially fifth in Pep’s leadership hierarchy. De Bruyne orchestrates City on the field like a traditional fly-half, and at his best last season single-handedly dismantled teams. However, last summer he won over Blues fans in a different way when ‘All or Nothing’ was released. During City’s FA Cup defeat to Wigan, Leroy Sané was substituted at half-time, and it fell to De Bruyne to console him. It’s those behind the scenes aspects that we’ve only seen glimpses of that seem to indicate KDB’s potential as captain.
When John Stones shuffled the armband over his sleeve back in November, it sent City fans wild. Touted as a future captain for England, there are few City fans that wouldn’t like to see him lead the Blues in the future. He’s vocal and composed on the pitch, as well as having a very likeable personality off it. He’s also a centre-half, which is often the preference when looking for your next long-term leader.
Just last month, Sterling received the armband for the first time. It comes after a season where he has almost single-handedly changed the media’s agenda. After being vilified by his own fans in the summer and targeted for racist abuse during the season, Raz called out the media’s portrayal of black footballers. He’s transcended his talents on the pitch by becoming even more of a role model off it. He’s down to earth, level-headed and unbelievably talented, in spite of all he’s been through. No one could have any arguments with him being handed the captaincy.
Though I don’t think Bernardo has ever worn the armband for City, this season he’s shown that he possesses the traits of a captain. Having only been a bit-part player last year, Bernardo filled in for the injured De Bruyne at the start of this season and has been undroppable since. He’s versatile, he’s unselfish, but most of all he’s a workhorse. He ran 13.7km against Liverpool in January, the most by any player in the Premier League era, and in the most important match of the season. He seems like the nicest bloke in the squad, and has a great relationship with all of the other players. The Portuguese press are talking about him succeeding Ronaldo as Portugal captain so just maybe he could succeed Kompany at City.
You can follow the author on Twitter here: @Sprosto
You can follow us on Twitter for more Manchester City content: @City_Xtra