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Kevin Phillips blogs on what makes the perfect captain

Kevin Phillips - Kevin Phillips Posted 12th March 2014 view comments

Wayne Rooney has said this week that he would - and he certainly commands the required respect from his peers.

He might not shout and holler at his team-mates but he works his socks off, covers every blade of grass and leads by example.

He's a big, strong, thick-set lad, too, so when he gives you that look and wants you to do something you respond!

Although I'm not sure he is quite ready for the England armband, he certainly has the credentials to become a skipper and will have learnt plenty from being around the likes of United team-mates Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

However, I don't usually like to see strikers being captains.

As a forward you're always looking back on the action, where as a central defender has the whole game in front of him and a central-midfielder works all over the pitch.

I've played under a lot of captains in my time but in terms of organising and being a leader, I'd say Kevin Ball was the best.

Kevin Phillips
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From those two commanding positions captains can organise, grab hold of people, dictate and lead by example.

Roy Keane and Brian Robson at Manchester United were leaders in the centre of midfield, at the heart of where everything goes on, while it's no coincidence Chelsea are top of the Premier League and have had John Terry at the centre of their defence for almost every minute of their campaign.

Rooney is an exceptional player but you certainly don't need to be the best player in your side to be a respected captain. Terry, for instance, is a great defender but isn't Chelsea's best player technically.

He's Chelsea's best leader, though - and you need people like that in your side.

Inspiration

I've played under a lot of captains in my time but in terms of organising and being a leader on the field, I'd say Kevin Ball at Sunderland was the best.

He was a hard-as-nails central midfielder and a real inspiration. He was a player none of the other players ever disrespected. Whatever he said, we listened to, took it on board and tried to do what he wanted.

A perfect captain needs to have all the ingredients I've mentioned.

However, I've also played under a number of captains who are great leaders on a Saturday afternoon but just go about their business during the week at training. And that's when the club captain comes in.

Generally at clubs you have a captain and a club captain these days. The club captain is there to organise everything - such as making sure fines are in on time - and to act as a go-between between the players and staff. So, if you don't feel comfortable approaching a member of staff the club captain will speak on your behalf.

Then, on Saturday, your match day captain is a colossus and comes to the fore.

Honour

I've worn the armband a few times during my career and it's always an honour to captain your team.

However, there have always been better captains than myself come in and I've been happy to hand it over.

Perhaps it isn't in my make-up to be a captain. Some players certainly seem born to be captains but it's not something I'd want on a regular basis.

When you're in a striker's position there's enough pressure on you to score goals as it is, do you want that extra pressure of being captain as well? You miss a couple of chances and then there's even more pressure.

I enjoy pressure and respond to it - but I prefer the pressure of trying to score goals to leading the team!

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