An article in The Telegraph writes how Eddie Jones, the England rugby coach, has said that The Captain Class was one of his favourite summer reads and now Gareth Southgate has revealed that it will influence arguably his most important decision as England manager.
The article adds that because of this It could also mean that the expected coronation of Harry Kane as captain is far from certain and that Spurs team mate Eric Dier will instead be chosen as Southgate’s on-field proxy.
It’s says that Southgate is likely to name his team on Thursday to face old foes Germany at Wembley, and will appear at a press conference alongside his skipper for Friday’s match which is likely to be Chelsea’s Gary Cahill.
It adds that Southgate has said he will name his captain on a game by game basis until making a long term decision.
The book Jones & Southgate read in which was referred to earlier was written by Sam Walker, the former sports editor of the Wall Street Journal and now a consultant to some of the biggest US sports franchises, and the article says he spent 11 years examining the finest teams in sports history. He wanted to find the key component in greatness and, having expected to reveal truths about player talent, coaching, tactics or simply money, he instead uncovered something more intangible: Captaincy.
The article refers to how the writer studied the eras of some rugby captains but in footballs case, the likes of Carles Puyol at Barcelona was looked at and what he found – time and time again – was how great eras were book-ended by towering captains.
The article adds that the England manager has read the book and says he acknowledged to the publishers that it had “certainly provoked more considerations in my thinking” for what he described as “a big decision”.
It adds how Southgate, who is clearly very open to outside ideas and original thinking, agreed with the book’s additional central finding; that the necessary character traits of the best captains were sometimes unexpected. “I agree with the point about the qualities required to be an outstanding captain not necessarily being the most obvious traits that people look for,” he wrote.
Walker’s (the books author) view is that Southgate’s captaincy decision will be the “first and most important step” in creating a culture that sustains enduring success. And he is convinced that the right decision is not Kane but Eric Dier, in whom he sees huge potential similarities with two World Cup-winning captains in Germany’s Lahm and France’s Didier Deschamps.
“I think one of the problems with England is that there have been two standards models of captain,” explains Walker. “The John Terry, Roy Keane tough guy and the absolute star player who is expected to produce with the game on the line. That’s the David Beckham or Wayne Rooney model that you now see with Harry Kane.”
It continues adding that Walker, though, cites multiple examples of ‘star players’ – “Messi, Pele, Jordan” – who most thrived without the full captaincy burden. “Kane, to me, is a great example of a team-orientated superstar,” he says. “Like Messi, that’s an absolutely essential part of a great team. But he needs to worry about his performance and having the energy to do what he does to carry the team through difficult moments.”
The article adds that Walker think England already have the man that is the ‘perfect’ captain within their ranks. He adds:”There is this big focus now in England on Harry Kane but I think there’s a perfect captain in that team,”. “It’s Eric Dier. The more I look at his profile, the more I see it. He is totally selfless; will shift from midfield, centre-back and right-back at a moment’s notice. You can see his communication style is there when you see him on the pitch with Dele Alli or Harry Kane. He is not a screamer or speechmaker but I think he can approach everyone.
Walker adds “It was also really interesting to see how he handled his confrontations with Diego Costa. He stands right up for the team and himself but he’s not looking for a row and there was emotional control. You could even sense some respect coming back his way from Costa and you don’t see that often. Dier has expressed interest in the job, but with maximum modesty and for the right reasons. You don’t want it for the prestige but because it is a job that is incredibly important.”
Have something to tell us about this article?