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Roker Ramble: Will Rooney Make A Captain Fantastic?

With the announcement that Wayne Rooney will captain England tonight, has Roy Hodgson made the right choice?

David Cannon - Getty Images

John Terry. Oh, John Terry.

Enough has been said about the former England captain to fill this page hundreds of times over. Stripped of the captaincy over his indiscretions with Wayne Bridge's ex-missus, only to be handed the armband back by Fabio 'Postman Pat' Capello, and then lose it all over again after his well publicised ordeal with Anton Ferdinand.

England needed a new leader going into Euro 2012 with Terry, Chelsea's "Captain, Leader, Legend" facing a criminal court case after the tournament, and Steven Gerrard was the man to step into the breach. The same Steven Gerrard who was charged with assaulting a DJ in a club in London.

There's a theme emerging here, England aren't the best at choosing who should wear the armband. The same armband shared in the past by legends of the game such as Billy Wright, Bobby Moore and Tony Adams.

Admittedly, gone are the days under Sven Goran Eriksson when the captaincy was handed from man to man like football stickers in a school playground. A game sticks in the memory where five separate players held the role throughout the game, including Phil Neville and Emile Heskey. Yes, Heskey.

However, in a footballing world where we find ourselves discussing morality at an increasing rate, surely it is time for the powers that be to take into account the past indiscretions of our national team's finest, and pick a role model that kids throughout the country could look up to. Well, that was the idea. Instead, they've chosen Wayne Rooney.

Before going into that decision though, it is probably wise to consider his competition. Joe Hart would seem a sensible choice, a player that keeps himself out of the headlines - generally - and his position in the team should be assured for years to come. Steven Gerrard is advancing in years, and his red card against the Ukraine probably cost him leading the team out tonight, while Ashley Cole's #BunchofTw*ts tweet certainly ruled him out of contention.

It's not just the fact that Rooney has consistently under performed in an England shirt, and let's be honest, since he burst on to the scene he's never really shone for us, at least at a major tournament when it truly matters. It's also the fact that his career has been marred in a number of other ways. Be it the stories that make the back pages, his sending off for 'stamping' on Cristiano Ronaldo during Euro 2008 and the red mist that has plagued him throughout his career, resulting in four red cards, or the swearing and slagging off fans into the camera after games.

Then of course come the stories that have seen him elevated to the front pages. His extra-curricular activities with ladies of a certain age, or his activities with ladies that ask for money when he has had 'fun' with them. Or both.

England's last captain to really call the armband his own was David Beckham, and he was also no stranger to the newspapers. However, despite how badly things began for him, and the backlash following his red card against Argentina in World Cup 1998, he proved that players can change the public's perception of them. Beckham went from national villan to national treasure during his time as the England captain, proving that hard work (and a winning smile - which will never be Rooney's forte) really can get even the biggest doubters onside.

This is Rooney's chance to prove the doubters wrong. Those that claim he will never have the temperament to become truly 'world' class could be eating their words if he can prove that he has the ability to lead his country. San Marino should barely class as a competitive match, but these games are laying the groundwork ahead of what will be a challenging World Cup in Brazil. Has Rooney got what it takes to become the focal point of an England charge for glory in that tournament? Only time will tell, but the past would suggest that he's got a long way to go.

If Rooney can prove that he has what it takes to live up to the honour that being the England captain should bring, and I emphasise should, then our national team, and Manchester United will certainly benefit from Roy Hodgson's decision to hand him the armband. However, if his temperament isn't up to scratch, and he lets his country down once again, you would have to question how many chances arguably the finest English player of his generation will be afforded, and how long it might take England to recover.

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