Ever since it became clear that Richard Dunne wasn’t going to be an automatic choice this season, there has been intense speculation as to who the new captain might be. It may be a minor surprise to see Kolo Toure, but only due to the strength of the other candidates.
Here, we take a look at the captaincy qualities and leadership experience elsewhere in the current squad:
- Vincent Kompany – Last season Vincent impressed everyone with his maturity and composure off the pitch to go alongside some commanding performances on it. Everyone seemed to agree that he looked like a future captain.
- Pablo Zabaleta – Another who impressed last season, and who had previously captained Argentina to victory at the 2005 Under 20 World Cup in Holland.
- Shay Given – In January, City signed the then captain of Newcastle, who has also led the Republic of Ireland. At the age of 32, Shay also had the experience to go with a famed professionalism. Added to that was the advantage of being an automatic choice in the team.
- Craig Bellamy – The captain of Wales also joined in January. He may not be everybody’s idea of a role model, but his commitment on the pitch has won over the doubters. Hughes clearly trusts his fellow Welshman and has always been able to get the best out of him.
- Gareth Barry – The first of the Summer signings was the captain of Aston Villa, and the England midfielder looked to be the favourite for the armband in the new season. Hughes spoke effusively of Barry’s leadership qualities when announcing his signing.
- Stephen Ireland – Captained the side during pre-season following a storming 2008/09 season. Stevie’s found a new level of maturity and Hughes recently commented, “Stevie really enjoyed having the armband … and I am sure in future he will be a Manchester City captain”.
- Emmanuel Adebayor – Following their qualification for the 2006 World Cup, Togo made Adebayor captain of their national side. The way he’s started the new season with City, he looks like leading the goalscoring charts at the very least.
- Micah Richards – Let’s not forget that the former captain of the youth team became City’s youngest ever captain when leading the team against Aston Villa on 16 September 2007.
- Robinho – The Brazilian also had a turn with the armband when City played Hull last season.
It’s a hugely impressive list, and another sign of how far the club has come when we remember that not so long ago Joey Barton was being considered a possible captain!
Toure has clearly made a big impression in a short time with the club. Having been signed following the failure to land John Terry, the Ivorian now finds himself picking up the armband that the England captain was expected to wear. Arsene Wenger had given Toure the captain’s armband at Arsenal in January, but this was only ever going to be temporary while Fabregas was injured.
Toure was considered a good professional at Arsenal and known to be popular within the squad. Despite a dip in form during the past couple of years, he remained a fans favourite, and Wenger always spoke highly of him.
What has been noticeable in his first few games with City, is his willingness to take responsibility and the level of communication with other members of the back four. Micah Richards in particular has been on the receiving end of some advice during games, and this can only be a good thing for the England U-21 right-back as he looks to regain his form this season.
If Kolo maintains the impressive form with which he has started his City career, then hopefully he’ll be the first Manchester City captain to lift some major silverware since Mike Doyle in 1976.