With question marks over Mark Noble’s future at West Ham, here’s three candidates for the captaincy when he doesn’t feature.
The captain has come in for criticism over his slow display in the 4-0 rout against Liverpool on Sunday.
This followed comments from Manuel Pellegrini stating that Noble will remain captain when he’s on the pitch. However, the Chilean said he wasn’t sure how often he would actually play.
How this develops will be intriguing, with the manager still trying to bed in his nine new signings.
Should Noble see a more rotational role this season, however, here’s three alternatives for the captaincy:
Angelo Ogbonna is now one of the key figures and long-term members of the squad.
Making over 80 appearances for the club since signing in 2015, Ogbonna has grown into a commanding figure at the back. He has shown versatility in the past by playing at left-back, and has a strong skill-set that leaves him a capable player.
It’s not as though he hasn’t had the experience either. Signed from Juventus, Ogbonna secured back-to-back Serie A titles with the Old Lady.
He’s also been a key figure for Italy as well. Finishing as runner-up in Euro 2012 as well as appearing at Euro 2016 also, Ogbonna knows how to communicate with big-name personalities.
With a squad needing a leader when Noble is out, Pellegrini couldn’t go wrong with his centre-back.
It still remains to be seen what centre-back partnership Pellegrini goes for. Ogbonna may even find himself dropped in the future for Issa Diop.
However, until that turned out to be the case, he has to be in with a shout of the arm-band in the future.
The only way this would be an outside-of-the-box choice is because the veteran doesn’t play every week.
Other than that, Pablo Zabaleta has to be a strong contender for the role. The right-back has done it all in football before signing for the Hammers in 2017.
A strongly respected leader, Zabaleta has won two Premier League titles as well as four domestic cups during his spell in Manchester.
Not many in the squad have more big-game experience than the Argentine. His role in the squad this season, however, has yet to fully be determined.
A real reader of the game, Zabaleta perhaps has the best football brain at the club. Not afraid to bark at his team-mates, he is a leader in every sense.
Whether the defender has the pace to be an integral part of Pellegrini’s long-term plans remains to be seen. However, he certainly has it in him to carry out the captaincy role when he does take to the pitch.
Granted, this opinion certainly is outside-the-box.
However, Jack Wilshere has had plenty of big-game experience in hostile environments during his time at Arsenal.
Dealing with consistent injuries and still holding his own with big personalities shows the kind of man Wilshere is. At the end of the day, he’s a born winner.
Just like Noble, he’s a proper London boy and will know exactly what West Ham means to the fans.
There won’t be many in the squad with a better understanding of English football than Wilshere. However, the 26-year-old has never played as a captain before.
Former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger stated that he was making plans to give the midfielder a shot at wearing the armband. However, both of their departures meant that this never really came to fruition.
First and foremost, Wilshere needs to consolidate his spot in the side. However, should Pellegrini start experimenting with the armband, it may be worth giving the gritty midfield man a shot.