If he were given the captaincy, would Gerrard really be allowed to do the job properly? We only have to look at the last time he led England, at the 2010 World Cup. John Terry cast a constant shadow over his appointment, making his position untenable because his ego couldn’t handle being replaced by Gerrard. Terry was a thorn in his side and leading the team became an impossible task. At Liverpool, the team is built around Gerrard. Every player respects him and looks up to him. They know he’s the main man, as the captain should be, and they would rarely question his judgement or leadership.
This just isn’t the case with England. The national team has never been built around Gerrard. He’s never really been given a run in his favoured central midfield position or even playing just behind the striker. His versatility has seen various managers move him around the pitch to accommodate Frank Lampard, resulting in Gerrard never reaching the same level as he has done for Liverpool.
None of this is his fault. When he captained Liverpool to Champions League glory in 2005 he should have been played as a central midfielder and made England captain. When he played predominantly on the right side of midfield the following season and scored 23 goals, including a 40 yard thunderbolt in the final that helped win the FA Cup, the national team should have been built around him. Instead, at the 2006 World Cup that summer, England used him as a defensive midfielder. Okay, he was still the team’s top goal scorer with two goals in what was a disappointing tournament, but imagine what he could have done had he been used more offensively.
People say Gerrard isn’t the type of captain with a fist-punching attitude like Terry but they only need to look back at Istanbul to see him show these attributes. Gerrard is the obvious choice for the England captaincy. He’s a natural leader – on and off the pitch. He’s the most experienced player. And he’s more than capable of repeating his performances as Liverpool captain in an England shirt. But does he really need the hassle? He’s had a few injury problems over the last year or so and, whilst the honour of being the captain of England would be a nice reward for him personally, from a selfish point of view I would prefer him to focus on playing for Liverpool.