Why Sol Campbell Wasn’t A Suitable Captain For England


Sol Campbell has released a book.

When writing an autobiography you need a few juicy stories that will make newspaper headlines. That added publicity gains your product more attention. Its simple but effective PR.

For Campbell he has decided that the fact he was never made permanent England captain was his juicy story. That is because he feels he was overlooked due to his skin colour.

For me, and many others, Campbell’s conclusion is ridiculous and untrue.

He states he should have been England’s captain for a decade. Yet he only played for England during an eleven year period. So is he saying that he should have been made captain inside a year of winning his first cap?

During Sol’s early days with England; Tony Adams, Stuart Pearce and then Alan Shearer where England’s main captains. Can we really say these players weren’t leaders on the park?

In 2000, when Shearer announced his international retirement, David Beckham was named skipper by Peter Taylor and that decision was rubber stamped by new boss Sven Goran Eriksson.

In the UK we see the armband as a symbol of leadership and that it should be treated with the upmost respect. But for many foreign coaches it doesn’t really matter. For Sven and the FA, Beckham was a great candidate for the captaincy. He was the most popular footballer of his generation, he spoke well and was a role model that gained the whole of English football more worldwide exposure.

In terms of PR, Campbell couldn’t compete with Beckham nor could anyone else irrespective of their race.

Then there is the other issues that you look at with Sol Campbell and you wonder would he really have been a better captain for England.

My opinion on Campbell has always been a terrific player when he is in a right frame of mind. But was ultimately a selfish player in terms of looking out for himself.¬†There is nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t make you an ideal captain.

He points to his Tottenham days, where he was made captain at a young age, as an example of why he should have been given same responsibility for the national team. I look at the way he departed White Hart Lane, for rivals Arsenal in a free transfer, as a major reason he couldn’t be considered for the role.

Then you look at the farce that happened while he was at Arsenal. He had a terrible first half against West Ham in 2006, where he gave away two goals. At half-time he asked to be taken off. He then left the stadium and made no further contact with club for at least a few days. It was hinted he was suffering from personal issues. Now we all suffer from personal issues but its how we deal with those issues that is important. If it were my captain who wasn’t in the right frame of mind I’d prefer him to seek medical help and not to have played in the first place.

We also have the Notts County debacle. Campbell dropped to League Two in 2009, signing a five year deal. He made one appearance, played poorly and then he walked out.

Now these episodes, for me, show us just why Sol Campbell was never the right man to hold the captains armband on a regular basis. His decision making skills are very questionable, his loyalties were dubious and he more often than not put himself ahead of the team.

Now he says the decision was all down to race. Yet Gary Neville, who made his international debut a year before Campbell, was never a regular captain either. What about Frank Lampard? He is white, middle-class and went to a private school. He has made 103 appearances for England in the past 15 years. Yet has never been a regular captain for his national side either.

All in all, the reason this is a topic is because Sol decides to bring a book out. Once again Sol is looking out for Sol. He gets publicity for that book by muttering theories that are simply untrue. It shows us that he’s a bitter man who will blame everything on someone else rather than take a long, hard look at himself.

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