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Michail Antonio tips West Ham teammate Declan Rice to become next England captain

Michail Antonio tips West Ham teammate Declan Rice to become next England captain

Michail Antonio believes his West Ham captain Declan Rice is well-placed to replace Harry Kane as England skipper.

Michail Antonio has tipped West Ham teammate Declan Rice to become the next England captain.

Rice, who took over the Hammers armband from the legendary Mark Noble, has established himself as a regular for England under Gareth Southgate ever since he made his debut in 2019.

He was brilliant in the European Championships when England reached the final at Wembley and the 23-year-old has been named in Southgate’s 26-man World Cup squad for the first time.

And having worked closely with him for a few years now, Antonio believes Rice has all the qualities needed to replace Harry Kane as skipper.

“One hundred per cent,” he told SPORTbible after being asked if Rice could be a future England captain.

“Obviously he's young right now and he's also West Ham captain. You see how he leads the team right now so he could always be captain for England.

“He’s got the traits, he's doing it right now with West Ham so he can easily do it with England.

“He's got a lot of appearances already for his young age playing for England as well so as time goes by, as Harry’s getting older, I could definitely see him as the next captain.”

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

As he was in his first international tournament, Rice will surely be one of the first names on the teamsheet.

He is expected to be partnered by Borussia Dortmund sensation Jude Bellingham, who now looks to be ahead of Kalvin Phillips’ after he only came back from a shoulder injury that required surgery.

The Birmingham City youth product has been in superb form for Dortmund this season and Antonio is excited to see Bellingham and Rice in a midfield pairing.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

“They’re both end to end, both number sixes who can get up and down the pitch,” he said.

“Jude Bellingham you can see right now is scoring a load of goals.

“Dec doesn’t really get on the goal side but he breaks things up, hardly gets beaten. They’re both quality players and both young prospects – to be fair I’m not even going to say prospects because they’re doing it right now.”

Antonio received two call-ups to England but never featured. He then accepted an approach to represent Jamaica internationally and has scored three goals in seven games for the Reggae Boyz.

His 2022 World Cup dream hasn’t quite happened after Jamaica failed to qualify but the 32-year-old, who rose through the pyramid after starting out at Tooting & Mitcham, is delighted with the Non League representation in the England squad.

His BBC Footballer's Football podcast pal Callum Wilson is in, alongside Newcastle teammate Nick Pope. The journeys of both show that there is a path to the top level.

Image: Penguin
Image: Penguin

“Before it didn’t really happen as much but now it’s starting to happen and you’re seeing the quality that is coming from Non-League.

“Teams are now looking because you can get these players for cheap and they can become world-beaters.

“There’s me, there’s Callum Wilson, Jarrod Bowen, Jamie Vardy – all come through Non-League and people are holding records.

“It’s good to see and hopefully teams keep doing that and keep looking down there.”

Antonio was speaking to SPORTBible in partnership with the Under the Surface podcast with menswear brand Original Penguin x CALM. The final episode of the series went live on 14th November at

Featured Image Credit: Alamy