A bizarre report in The Guardian by Paul Doyle has suggested that the solution to all our problems is to make Raheem Sterling club captain, and that by allowing our relationship with the young winger to deteriorate to the point where we risk losing him, we are sending out the message that we are happy to settle for mediocrity.
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The writer repeatedly insists that he has nothing against Jordan Henderson, yet insults him at every turn. He claims that by sticking with Henderson as captain we are setting the bar too low, and suggests that he is not the right player to inspire his teammates.
Now I am not suggesting that Henderson is the ideal captain, and he will almost certainly struggle to fill the boots of Steven Gerrard – as any player would. But to say that Sterling should be our new captain seems downright preposterous.
The young England international splits opinion among Liverpool fans hugely at the moment, but there is no question that his recent behaviour has been unacceptable. He has conducted himself in a way that would disappoint us coming from any and all of our players, never mind our captain.
Tantrums and insubordination should not be rewarded with with an armband, and there is nothing about Sterling that suggests he would make a good Liverpool captain.
In his article Doyle references Keane vs Forlan in 2002, with the former Man United captain stripping the Uruguayan of the ball. He highlights the fact that “Keane was denying Forlán an easy solution, telling him that only by doing something special could he be rewarded. That’s the standard to set.”
Following that thinking, Sterling must do something special if he wants to be rewarded – we should not just hand him the captaincy to make him happy. Of course he has shown glimpses of real potential and quality, but he has let the attention he’s received from the press go to his head, and he already has ideas well above his current station.
Is Henderson our best choice for captain? I’m undecided. Should Sterling even come into the equation? Not a chance!