Should Dele Alli be made the England captain?
By Joe Harker
In England we take the issue of football captaincy very seriously. That may be because it's another reason for us to argue about who really deserves the particular honour of being the main representative of the much maligned national team, but the English do have some very strong notions about the importance of an armband. There are several candidates who could permanently take on the responsibility, but a surprise inclusion in the mix is Dele Alli.
Stan Collymore, a former England player himself, suggested that Alli is the "outstanding choice" for the role as it would teach him responsibility and be the making of him. Alli is still a young player who is occasionally criticised for lacking maturity, so if he rose to the challenge of being named England captain it could be a huge boost to the Spurs forward. Collymore said: "Responsibility isn't a bad thing, it's a great thing, and while Harry Kane is getting on with scoring the goals Alli could be marshalling the team from midfield.
"He could lead England into the next two or three tournaments - he really is the outstanding choice."
However, the frontrunners for the armband currently appear to be Spurs striker Harry Kane and Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson. England manager Gareth Southgate wants the responsibilities of leadership to be divided among the players, but Kane and Henderson are the main candidates to be the official leader of the team. Henderson, who captains his club side Liverpool, has admitted that he is desperate to be made full time captain. However, there are some doubts over his regular first team spot with England, and the captaincy would likely have to go to a player that is guaranteed to start when fit, which could benefit Kane.
Former England captain Bryan Robson has said that wearing the armband comes with a huge amount of responsibility, something that Collymore suggested would be the making of Dele Alli. However, Robson believes that the captain has to lead by example. He said: "I was always conscious that I had to get my own game right, then I felt I could lead by example.
"Words are hollow if you have to criticise someone but you are not doing your own job."
That may be a problem for Alli, who was banned for England's game against Slovenia due to raising his middle finger in a previous fixture. It was a silly gesture to make, even to teammate Kyle Walker, and Alli may not yet have the maturity to lead a team. While it might help him grow as an individual, there are many other responsibilities a captain has that he may not yet be suited to.