Picking A Captain For The New Season

As teams once again head towards a brand new Premier League season, there is always the feeling of change in the air. New players, new tactics, and for Aston Villa, maybe even a new captain.


When Steven Gerrard first arrived through the gates of Villa Park, he was hesitant to completely rip apart the current squad dynamic, especially when it came to picking a club captain. He even said as much back in November;


“When you come into a club during a season, you are not going to turn the club upside down. The captaincy is one of the decisions I am going to be analysing moving forward."


Steven Gerrard also added;


“We are still working that out. I still won’t rule out the option of someone coming in, who I know, who is also capable of being in the running. It is something I am analysing really closely now and I will make a decision some time during pre-season.”


So here we are in pre-season, getting prepared for the first set of games with the entire squad back together where we might finally get a hint as to who will captain Aston Villa going forward.


In this article, we're going to run through the top candidates for the captain's armband and the reasons why they could lead Villa to greatness in the upcoming season.


Tyrone Mings


The most obvious candidate on this list is, of course, last season's captain Tyrone Mings.



For me, Mings has never really put a foot wrong as Aston Villa captain. During the pandemic when the team was playing behind closed doors, it was always Tyrone Mings who you could hear barking instructions to his fellow teammates.


During heated situations, he has always felt like a calm head amongst a sea of rage. He's the perfect player in claret and blue to go and speak to a referee with a natural sense of leadership, composure, and gravitas.


When Mings speaks, people listen, and not just on the pitch.


Off the pitch, Mings also ticks every box you'd want from an Aston Villa captain. From hosting charity evenings with fans, to speaking up against corrupt politicians and helping supporters in need across social media. Mings is undoubtedly a man we can be proud of if he continues in the role of captain going forward.


The only reason that he may lose the armband is if Gerrard wants to move forward with a player who has a history of winning. That winning mentality is something the manager has spoken about on numerous occasions. Although Mings certainly has a desire for Villa to win every game, Gerrard might be tempted to look at a player who has recently lifted a major trophy.


Emi Martinez


Ever since Martinez joined Aston Villa, he's done an incredible job at ingraining himself in the club. In turn, the Villa fanbase has fallen in love with the Argentine keeper.


Whenever Martinez talks about Villa, it's in the highest regard.


"Aston Villa is a massive club, I had no doubts over coming here. Everyone thinks it's a step down going from Arsenal to Villa, but I actually think it's a step up in my career."


“Some people do not realise how big Aston Villa are. I said on day one my ambition is to be in Europe with Aston Villa. I want to take this club as high as possible and we are on the right path. Can it be done this season? Yes. But we have to work for it.”


He also has that elusive winning mentality that the gaffer is looking for. Although Mings is currently a great captain, he can't lay claim to the honours that Martinez has.


Once he broke through at Arsenal in 2019, he helped lead them to an FA Cup and Community Shield win. Then, in 2021, he would play a major role in helping Argentina win the Copa América and even won the golden glove award along the way.



Lionel Messi would even credit Martinez for helping him win his first ever major trophy with Argentina, calling him ‘one of the world’s best goalkeepers’.


So Martinez says all the right things, he also has the medals and awards to back his claim for captaincy. The only problem might be his position. Although it's not hugely uncommon for goalkeepers to be captain, it may not be the direction Gerrard wants to move towards.


Having said that, if you were to take the armband away from Mings, there's probably none better than Martinez to step into that role.


John McGinn


McGinn was vice captain for Villa last season and could well be in the running to step up as full-time captain for the upcoming season.


It's no secret that McGinn is arguably the most liked player in the dressing room, and with that will come a certain level of respect from his peers that can be hard to find.


Sure, we all know that McGinn can be the class clown of the group, which is probably why he is so popular with his teammates. However, it's his never-say-die attitude on the pitch that earned him his vice captaincy role, not dressing up like a Christmas turkey.


McGinn gives his all every time he puts on a Villa shirt. Even if he's unable to put in a man of the match level performance, you can never question the effort from the Scotsman.



Much like Mings, McGinn ticks all the boxes when it comes to fan interactions and representing Aston Villa Football Club in a positive way. Though, it's probably this similarity with Mings that will stop him from being given the role, it's really not worth potentially unsettling our current captain just to replace him with a character in a similar mould.


Philippe Coutinho


We're going to look at a few outsiders now, starting with Philippe Coutinho.


Coutinho is probably too softly spoken to be a real contender for the armband, but there is something to be said for coaches wanting their best player to captain the side.


Looking back at one of Gerrard's quotes, this part particularly stands out; "I still won’t rule out the option of someone coming in, who I know, who is also capable of being in the running."



No matter what we as fans may think, there's no doubt that Gerrard see's Coutinho as Villa's best player. So is it too much of a stretch to say that he may just captain the club's best player to lead by example? Probably, but I think it's a name worth considering, especially now the Brazilian has signed a permanent deal.


Diego Carlos


Speaking of new players, is there a chance that Mings may have to give up the captaincy to his new centre back partner?


It's highly unlikely in truth, especially given the potential language barrier between Carlos and his teammates and referees. However, there's no denying the doggedness of our new Brazilian defender, having helped lead Sevilla to a Europa League victory in 2020.



Much like Martinez and Coutinho, Carlos is a player who ticks the box of having that winning mentality. He's also a player that Gerrard himself has brought in, which may well be a big factor.


Jacob Ramsey


At only 21-years-old, Ramsey is the only entry in this list who probably doesn't have a chance. I just really wanted to include a player who is one of our own.


Now is not the right time, but make no mistake that Ramsey may well captain his boyhood club someday in the future. With that in mind, it would be exciting to see the lad lead the club out at some point this season, even if it's just for an early round cup game against lower league opposition.



Summary


Well there we have it. Those are the top picks to captain Aston Villa in the new season.


In conclusion, I can't help but feel that the captaincy won't actually change and Mings has easily done enough to keep the captain's armband. It's also worth pointing out that Mings was picked as captain against Walsall last weekend, however Gerrard might be waiting to get the whole squad together before making his final decision.


Make sure to let us know who you think will be captain by replying to this article or tweeting us @AVFCFaithful_ or @MikeyGalaszia


UTV




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