Former Liverpool striker Neil Mellor believes that Jon Flanagan could follow in the footsteps of fellow ‘local lads’ Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher and become the Reds futuere captain.
Gerrard and Carragher regularly shared the armband until the latter’s retirement in 2013. And with Gerrard now set to follow his long-term teammate out of the Anfield exit this summer, Mellor is keen to see another Merseyside star beginning to make progress up the Liverpool ranks.
Jordan Henderson is widely expected to take over the captain role next season, although Mellor feels that Flanagan could make a fine understudy, claiming that he has the same leadership qualities as Carragher.
Mellor, who scored six goals for the Reds including a crucial strike against Olympiacos in 2004, believes that the 22-year-old is bound for greatness once he finally puts his injury problems behind him.
Speaking in his Liverpool Echo column, he said: “We’ve already seen what kind of character he is. To spend so long out of the first-team picture, and then to come back last season and perform the way he did, in big, big games, shows the mental strength that he has.
“For me, he still has a future at Anfield. If you think that Liverpool have already lost Carra, they’re about to lose Stevie this summer, then they need that local connection, that player that relates to the supporters and that represents them on the pitch. And Flanno can be that man.
“He has what Carra had, that desire to win, those leadership qualities. I don’t think it’s stretching it to say that he could be a future captain of the club, because you can’t buy the qualities that Jon has.
“Of course there is no guarantee of how he will come back from injury – I know that from experience – but he is at the best possible club in terms of medical care and support, and he has the best possible attitude to call upon.”
Flanagan, who has missed the entire 2014-15 campaign through injury, was this week ruled out for another six to nine months following surgery on his knee.
Liverpool defender Jonathan Flanagan is facing between 6-9 months out after undergoing knee surgery.
— Tony Barrett (@TonyBarretTimes) April 30, 2015