Manchester United are assessing among their current roster who will be the man to take the armband vacated by retiring club captain Michael Carrick. When he wasn’t in the side, it was typically Antonio Valencia who donned the band but many have questioned whether he is a sustainable captain going forward.
The likes of Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Eric Bailly, Ander Herrera and David De Gea have been speculated as potential candidates, with that quintet having age on their side compared to Valencia, not to mention a better command of the English language- something which is often held against the Ecuadorian as far as leadership is concerned.
Is there a fifth option though?
One has that come relatively out of the blue but is becoming more and more apparent in recent weeks.
He would be the least experienced in terms of wearing red of that aforementioned five, but how about the Reds’ main man Romelu Lukaku?
The pictures emerging from Russia whenever the other Red Devils take to the field have been powerful. United themselves have not been averse to publishing them either, namely Lukaku being the ringleader in giving motivational words, with his fellow Belgians listening and concentrating intently on his commands and rallying cries. It has led to their team spirit, unity and fight to the end coming as no surprise.
He has only had one full season at the club, but he has filled the huge shoes once belonging to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and grown in stature as the season progressed. He has handled the pressures of playing for United, replacing Zlatan and justifying a huge transfer fee admirably and his game in only going in one direction under Mourinho at United.
He has earned the respect of the dressing room and few would have known he had leadership qualities in him. We have seen how he has delivered after being entrusted and relied on to get the majority of United’s goals and spearhead their attack so who knows how he would fare with leading the collective.
By all accounts, Lukaku is a great studier of the game and having the rest of the team bounce off that enthusiasm can certainly be infectious.
There are plenty of options for United’s next captain and few would question the decision if De Gea, for instance, was given the armband.
Lukaku is certainly growing a case for it, though.