Every club needs a leader. At least one man who can stand up and take responsibility, who can drive a team on, who can lead by example. Steve Bruce has decided that his man at Sunderland is Lee Cattermole. So far this season, Cattermole has played three games, and been sent off in two of them, both in the first half for two bookings. Safe to say, Cattermole’s leadership this season has been questionable.
I can appreciate the reasoning behind his initial appointment, and I will also say at this point that I do rate Cattermole as a player. He is the type of man who will never shy from a fifty-fifty challenge, and can be counted on to never give up. I also believe he is underrated as a footballer, and his passing ability and reading of the game goes unnoticed due to the aggressive nature of his game. I do not however, think he is not quite ready to be a Premier League captain. His attitude is what helped make Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira great captains, but Cattermole needs more time to take a step back and get a better hold of his state of mind. His sendings off this season have been reckless stupidity, and that it is the last thing his team needs from him.
It struck me on the same day, for completely different reasons, that Manchester City also might have some issues over their choice of captain. Carlos Tevez will lead from the front, and harry every ball till his mangled face turns as blue as his shirt, which is a great thing to see from a striker, but is he a captain? Despite his time in England, Tevez’s English is still limited at best. He is not a natural leader and his communication (vital to any captain) is ropey, this doesn’t smell like the recipe for success. Gareth Barry and Kolo Toure may not be Bobby Moore, but they have captained Villa and Arsenal respectively, and are surely better candidates for the armband. Cattermole and Tevez baffle me as captains, but are they the worst the Prem has seen?
William Galls strikes me as a man far more concerned with his own image than that of his team; quick to criticise others and on a constant search to blame someone other than himself. Hi petulant sulk at St. Andrews is the most obvious example, but least we forget the fact that he refused to speak to his defensive partner Kolo Toure for the latter’s last 18 months at the Emirates.
John Terry’s value as captain depends on who you ask. Frank Lampard will tell you how good a leader he is, Wayne Bridge’s opinion may be slightly less complimentary. A man that has led his side to three titles must have good credentials and previous to the allegations last season, one would have considered Terry a perfect example of what a captain should be, but that has damaged his reputation long-term. It was enough for Capello to strip him in double quick time.
And what happens when you need a leader to dig you out the mire. Relegation looms, and you look around the dressing room as to who will drag you out of all the problems. Well when Southampton’s Premier League survival hung in the balance, who did Harry Redknapp turn to in order to steer the sinking ship? Step forward, Nigel Quashie. A man who had already experienced two relegations from the Prem (with QPR and Forest), his success rate at leading teams out of such problems amounted to zero. It stayed at zero as the Saints fell into the second tier (and it stayed at zero when he was relegated with West Brom soon after that). I’ll be honest, if I was playing for a team battling relegation and looked to see my captain was Quashie, I’d start preparing for my wage drop in advance.
So who would you least like to have? Cattermole watching from sidelines, Tevez barking at you in Spanglish, Terry (allegedly) sleeping with your ex, Gallas sulking, or Quashie directing you to the Championship? Or am I missing someone else, has your club been lead in the wrong direction?
Let me know, and if you want, follow me on twitter. Maybe you can also tell me how Bernardo Corradi still manages to carve out a career as a professional footballer (Udinese if you were curious), despite having the first touch of a rhino on valium.