To Stick or Twist? The Captaincy Question

Jamie McDonald

As the new season fast approaches and with a new man at the helm in Nigel Adkins, the inevitable question has been asked, who will be his captain? We look at the main contenders for the captaincy at Reading.

As we know, Jobi McAnuff is the current captain carrying over from the Brian McDermott era and I’m sure he is keen to keep this position ahead of the 2013/14 season. However, new managers tend to make changes and these additions can change the dynamic of the squad, with the recent signing of former Real Madrid and Dutch winger Royston Drenthe a prime example. Drenthe, is very versatile but we are led to believe that Adkins is set to employ him on the left wing, where Jobi spent the majority of his playing time last season.

This poses the question; can a club have a captain that won’t be playing 90 minutes every week?

As shown in glimpses last season, Jobi remained captain of the club despite being subbed off on numerous occasions before the end of the game so it's possible for him to officially have the armband but not lead on the pitch, but is it sustainable?

In my opinion a club needs a captain who will play most if not every game next season and be someone that's likely to play every minute of the games that they play in.

Personally, I think it's time for a change as Jobi is not guaranteed a place in the starting eleven anymore as, arguably the wing position is our strongest with Jobi, Drenthe, Garath McCleary, Hal Robson-Kanu, Jimmy Kebe, Nick Blackman and perhaps Jordan Obita all fighting for just two places.

However, the changing nature of the squad and specifically the first eleven means that right now it's hard to know who will be guarenteed regular playing time. As it stands, only McCarthy, Wayne Bridge, Danny Guthrie and one of Adrian Mariappa, Alex Pearce and Sean Morrison are likely week-in-week-out regulars at the moment so it's still wide open for any number of players to stake their claim.

So here are my top contenders for the captaincy with their chances rated out of 10.

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Jobi McAnuff

The simplest option for Adkins might be keeping Jobi as the club captain. Doing so avoids a potential dressing room dispute and keeps the squad happy. Adkins could then name a vice-captain who'd be more likely to lead the side and succeed Jobi in the long-term, which for me is the best and perhaps safest option.

7/10

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Alex McCarthy

McCarthy established himself a genuine number one last season, even earning an England call-up despite injuring himself midway through the season. Alex has attracted interest from the likes of Liverpool and Fulham to name but a few but if he opts to remain with the Royals, he is almost certain to be the number 1 for next season. However at the relatively young age of 23, it's possibly too early for him to be considered for the captaincy.

5/10

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Adrian Mariappa

Adrian joined us last summer and was arguably one of our stand-out players. At the age of 26 and the second oldest defender (discounting Gorkss) Adrian could well feature in the majority of Reading’s games next season alongside either Alex Pearce or Sean Morrison. He is loud, vocal and is more mobile than Pearce or Morrison and thus giving him a big chance of inheriting the captaincy.

8/10

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Alex Pearce

Alex has been at the club since the age of 12 and was the player of the year in our promotion campaign in 11/12. This would be a no-brainer for me but in light of recent events (see his contract dispute) it remains to be seen if the Reading fans are forgiving enough to give him a second chance let alone give him the captaincy. Despite this, Alex always gives 100% for the team and is undoubtedly a natural leader on the field. It remains to be seen if Adkins will be as forgiving as some of the fans.

7/10

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Jem Karacan

Products of the youth academy are regularly fan favourites and despite the fact that many Reading fans hold reserved judgements on the Turk, he is undoubtedly a talented midfielder. Playing alongside Danny Guthrie as one of two holding midfielders in the 4-2-3-1 formation, he has adapted well to Adkins’ new style and was handed the captain’s armband twice when Jobi was subbed in previous games. A dark horse for the role perhaps?

6/10.

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It is still early days under the new boss and he may yet go out and sign a player that he's earmarked as the man he wants to lead out the side next season but, with the current squad at the Madejski, I make Mariappa the favourite followed by Jobi and Pearce.

But who do you think the next club captain should be and why, vote in the poll and leave us your thoughts below.

George Williamson

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