Food For Thought: Scrutinizing The Next Manchester United Captain After Wayne Rooney

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Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick. Two of the most undervalued players in English football. Rooney, over the years, has always been criticized despite going on to achieve great feats at the club and international level, while Carrick has never been given his dues despite being one of the finest midfielders in the country for close to ten years now.

There is no doubting the duo’s contribution to Manchester United over the past decade. Carrick, at 36, is still a vital part of the United midfield, whereas Rooney went on to scale new heights, becoming the club’s all-time leading goalscorer with his goal against Stoke City last weekend, going past the legendary Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 249 goals for the Red Devils. Individual performances aside, what has been much more valuable for the team has been their presence on the field and in the dressing room.

These two are United’s longest serving players in the current squad and are the team’s first and second-choice captains. Rooney, with his energy and enthusiasm, has always been an inspirational figure on the field while Carrick with his calm demeanour is the silent leader on the field. However, serious doubts have been cast over their futures at Old Trafford in recent weeks.

Rooney has constantly been linked with a move to the money-loaded Chinese Super League since the summer of 2016. And manager Jose Mourinho, said to the media recently that he would not stand in the way of the United and England captain, if he wishes to move.

Carrick, on the other hand, is in the last six months of his current contract with the club and is yet to be offered a new deal, leading to speculations that the former Tottenham midfielder will be moving away or may even decide to hang his boots at the end of the season.

If the two stars decide to move away from the M16 in the upcoming summer, United will be dealt with a huge blow as they will lose two of their most influential players on and off the pitch. With the rumour mill going wild with speculations over the future of the two Englishmen, we take a look at the players who could be entrusted with the captaincy at Old Trafford in the coming year:

Antonio Valencia

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The Ecuadorian international has emerged as one of Mourinho’s most trusted lieutenant this season and has held his own as a right-back. Extremely solid and exceedingly consistent, Valencia has been praised from all corners for his displays this term.

Having been with the club since 2009, when he moved from Wigan, Valencia knows the club in and out and is the epitome of hard work and determination. There have been various instances where the 31-year old has struggled at the club, but has always bounced back stronger. And he has excelled in his new role of right-back and recently signed a one-year extension with the club, that will keep him at the Old Trafford till 2018.

A strong character, with plenty of experience and a diligent worker for the team, Valencia could be the right option to take this team forward post-Rooney and Carrick’s speculated departure.

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