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Last Updated: Sunday, 2 July 2006, 13:19 GMT 14:19 UK
Following Beckham
By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer in Baden Baden


Steve McClaren
McClaren must decide who will become England's new captain
One of the first tasks for new England manager Steve McClaren will be to decide who to appoint as captain.

The skipper's armband is up for grabs following David Beckham's decision on Sunday to stand down following six years in the job.

McClaren has less than seven weeks to make his selection before the new man takes charge of England's friendly against Greece on 16 August.

BBC Sport looks at the contenders that are in the frame for the position.

JOHN TERRY (1/2 FAVOURITE)

John Terry is the inspirational Chelsea leader and world-class defender who has shed a bad-boy image to develop into a hugely-respected professional.

The 25-year-old had some uncertain moments at the World Cup, but was magnificent against Portugal, despite suffering the disappointment of picking up a yellow card that would have ruled him out of a potential semi-final.

He never held back, and this is the style that makes him the early favourite to succeed Beckham.

Terry's experience in leading Chelsea to two consecutive Premiership titles prove he is capable of handing the pressures of England captaincy.

The centre-back has 29 caps to his name.

STEVEN GERRARD (2/1)

Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard would be a superb choice - a world-class player and a captain who has occasionally carried his club single-handedly since he was appointed by Gerard Houllier.

Steven Gerrard
Gerrard has been inspirational as Liverpool skipper

The recent history made at Anfield could not have been written without the influence of this magnificent driving force of a midfield man.

The 26-year-old, who has won 47 caps, resurrected Liverpool on the night of their famous Champions League win against AC Milan in Istanbul in 2005, heading the first goal and also winning a penalty.

He also scored two stunning goals in the FA Cup final win against West Ham United, including a strike from 35 yards in injury time.

Gerrard is arguably the finest player in his position in world football, although he was not well utilised by outgoing England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Very honest with a steely determination, no-one could argue if he landed the job.

GARY NEVILLE (5/1)

Gary Neville would make an excellent England captain, but will he play in the European Championship in two years' time? He is hardly likely to be around in South Africa in 2010.

This surely rules him out of the race to succeed Beckham.

He is a major dressing room influence, happy to say his piece in private and capable of stirring public speaking - he gave the most memorable interview of England's World Cup campaign before the defeat against Portugal.

The 31-year-old is still the first choice right-back in the absence of serious competition, and took the armband when Beckham went off injured against Portugal.

The Manchester United player has won 81 caps but is an outsider and is unlikely to claim the role.

FRANK LAMPARD (8/1)

Chelsea's Frank Lampard had a desperately disappointing World Cup, but his recent achievements mean he should not be written off.

He is unlikely to be chosen ahead of his captain at club level, Terry, and will now concentrate on regaining his best form at international level. This will not come with the burden of the England captaincy.

RIO FERDINAND (12/1)

John Terry (left) and Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand (right) is also a contender, but Terry remains the favourite

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is a quality player, but there are better candidates to captain England.

He has had concentration problems in the past which led to Eriksson dropping him for a World Cup tie against Austria.

It will be better to leave Ferdinand to keep his mind on defensive duties rather than clutter it up with greater responsibility.

MICHAEL OWEN (14/1)

Injury-plagued Newcastle striker Michael Owen has been Eriksson's vice captain but his latest injury problems mean he will be watching McClaren's first game in charge from the sidelines.

That probably ends any outside chance of him taking over from Beckham.

But a fully-fit and functioning Owen is likely to be one of the first names on the teamsheet so it would be no surprise if he continued as the new skipper's second in command.

*Odds are from William Hill

SEE ALSO
England tipped to mount recovery
02 Jul 06 |  England
Beckham quits as England captain
02 Jul 06 |  England
Right time to go
02 Jul 06 |  England
Fans back Beckham quit decision
02 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006
Beckham's England captaincy in photos
02 Jul 06 |  Photo Galleries
England beaten on penalties again
01 Jul 06 |  World Cup 2006


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