Pitchside

England captain runners and riders: Should Rooney take the armband?

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Steven Gerrard’s international retirement has sparked debate over who is the best choice to replace him as England skipper.

While experience and presence are key values to such a responsibility, the bookmakers’ odds on his successor are hardly sparking excitement over a ‘new era’ at England – rather, a large risk of the ‘same old, same old’,

Nonetheless, here are the leading candidates, their pros and their cons, and whether Eurosport feels they should be given the task.

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Wayne Rooney: Striker, 28.

Odds: 1/3 (FAVOURITE)

Pros: With 95 caps, he is the most experienced player remaining in the frame. The Manchester United forward is at the right age to become captain, and has surely earned the moniker. He is next in line to the throne.

Cons: Can sometimes be immature. And is prone to throwing toys out of the pram. Some fans don't even think he should be in the starting line-up. Which would be an obvious con.

Eurosport’s verdict: If Hodgson is going to bet on Rooney in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, he surely has to be given his chance. Perhaps the responsibility will add something to his game. For a player who has scored 40 goals in 95 matches for England, the captaincy is merited on stats alone.

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Gary Cahill: Centre-back, 28.

Odds: 5/1

Pros: Some coaches like strong central defenders to be captain because the game is played out in front of them. Assuming of course Luis Suarez is not sneaking in behind you. Plays alongside the former England skipper John Terry at Chelsea. So should have learned what the role is about from JT. Was trending on Twitter on Monday, indicating that he's the people's choice.

Cons: Only has 27 caps, and at 28 is a late developer with the national squad. Hodgson seems to like him, but his lack of experience and a few errors at the World Cup may count against him.

Eurosport’s verdict: Was deputy captain at Bolton, and his natural progression would appear to be the captaincy. If Rooney isn't given the nod, would be an obvious choice.

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Joe Hart: Goalkeeper, 27.

Odds: 5/1

Pros: Certainly doesn't lack a voice as his numerous adverts for shampoo brands, crisp manufacturers and balls boys during the World Cup showed. Went through a sticky spell last season, but came through it to establish himself as England's starting goalkeeper. Wasn't overly convincing at the World Cup, but the experience should serve him well as he continues to develop.

Cons: Like Rooney, does not captain his club side. In saying that, when you play for clubs like Manchester City and United, you shouldn't really need a skipper to motivate you. Peter Shilton captained England, but giving the role to a goalkeeper would perhaps be viewed a slightly eccentric in the modern era.

Eurosport’s verdict: Like Cahill, must be considered a strong candidate if Hodgson opts against Rooney simply because of the high level he is operating at. And he uses his voice. Which is always good for a captain. We think.

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Phil Jagielka: Centre-back, 31.

Odds: 16/1

Pros: Another reliable Premier League performer with Everton. Consistent and ongoing, he has formed a decent partnership with Cahill.

Cons: A bit limited in his movements, Hodgson is unlikely to go for a figure he could drop at any point. Cahill might well come into the same category. If England hope to improve, they surely can't guarantee men games. Giving a player the captaincy guarantees a player a game by general wisdom.

Eurosport’s verdict: Can't see it. Not ahead of Rooney or Hart. Or Cahill. But should be sharp enough to remain a firm part of the England squad heading into the Euro 2016 finals.

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Jack Wilshere: Central-midfield, 22.

Odds: 33/1

Pros: Erm, he is young? Are there any pros for him being handed the captaincy? Burst onto the scene as impressively as Rooney four years ago, but has been in out and the squad since then.

Cons: Lots and lots of them. Has not been a regular, reliable figure making only 20 appearances since the 2010 World Cup finals. Not really captain material. Not when you like to smoke and party in Las Vegas. The England captain has to be made of sterner stuff surely. Which is why Rooney is not a guaranteed pick.

Eurosport’s verdict: His main aim should be trying to play for Arsenal and stick around the squad. Maybe in future, he could be England captain, but there is plenty of learning for young Jack to embark upon. The great white hope is more the great white smoke at the moment.

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