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For eight years between 2011 and 2019, the captaincy role at Manchester City was firmly held down by legendary defender Vincent Kompany.
The club are now looking for their third skipper since the Belgian’s departure three years ago, following David Silva’s tenure in 2019/20 and Fernandinho’s stint which ended when he left the club this summer.
With the Manchester City players still to decide amongst themselves who will be next to take up the armband, here are five options we think would be the best to be handed the mantle.
Perhaps an outside shout to start off the list due to his softly spoken nature, but the Manchester City squad clearly hold Ilkay Gündoğan in high regard as a leader, as evidenced by him serving as Fernandinho’s vice-captain last season.
Due to the Brazilian’s more reserved role in the side, the 31-year-old gained a lot of experience leading the side out with the armband on, so it could be seen as a natural progression for him to take up the duty on a full-time basis.
However, if the aim is to find a captain who can match the longevity achieved by Vincent Kompany’s time at the club, perhaps the German international is not the outstanding pick, with his contract set to expire next summer, and fears over a persistent back injury limiting his involvement.
The man who skippered Manchester City in the Community Shield against Liverpool earlier this summer, Rúben Dias looks one of the favourites to pick up the armband permanently, having showcased his leadership qualities ever since he joined the club in 2020.
Despite his relatively tender age of 25, the Portuguese defender is one of the most vocal players in the squad, always demanding more from his teammates and from himself.
That youthfulness, as well as his apparent dedication to the club, could also mean that in Ruben Dias, Manchester City have a potential captain for the next decade or so.
Other candidates may have spent more time with the club than him, but the centre-back looks to be top of the running.
Let him talk!
Kevin de Bruyne may have arrived at Manchester City as a media-shy recluse in 2015, but his seven years at the Etihad Stadium has seen him develop into a true leader amongst the Blues' squad, and someone who can be looked to in order to lead by example and stand up to be counted in the difficult moments.
The Belgian international clearly commands the respect of his peers, as we’ve heard from within the club how much of a draw his presence can be for potential signings – just ask super-fan Jack Grealish.
Being the best player at the club isn’t in itself a sufficient reason to hand De Bruyne the armband, but couple that with his authority with the players and his years of experience at the club, and the talismanic midfielder has a strong case for the captaincy.
The fact that Ruben Dias was selected to lead the team out against Liverpool ahead of him may suggest that he is not at the front of the queue though.
Probably the man who least fits the traditional description of a captain on this list, Kyle Walker is nevertheless another player who has earned a spot on Pep Guardiola’s captaincy group in the past and will be expecting to be considered for the captaincy role at least.
The Englishman’s laid-back approach makes him a popular member of the squad, and when you pair that with his vast experience at the top level - five years of it at Manchester City - and his importance to the side, it’s understandable why he finds himself in the mix.
As with Ilkay Gündoğan, Walker’s age - one year older than the German at 32 - could count against him, and it does seem likely that other candidates would find themselves higher in the squad’s estimations than the right back.
A left-field suggestion to end the list, but people may be surprised to learn that Nathan Aké quickly ingratiated himself into a leadership position at Manchester City following his arrival in 2020, so much so that he received one of the highest shares of the votes to be the skipper that summer.
That the Dutch defender was able to quickly win round his new teammates so quickly is testament to his popularity in the squad, but the fact that he was not included in the five-man leadership group last term does raise questions as to whether he will be in the forefront of the voting this time.
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