Five candidates to succeed Wayne Rooney as England captain
Wayne Rooney's time as England captain will not last forever so here is a look at who might succeed him as the nation's leader.
Wayne Rooney has been hailed for his performances as England captain, but who is in position to take over the armband when the Manchester United striker's time comes to an end?
All-time record goalscorer Rooney is still just the the right side of 30, but preparations for his departure from the international scene will need to be put in place sooner rather than later by Roy Hodgson or his successor.
So who are the candidates to take over from Rooney in and around the current England set-up?
Goalkeeper Joe Hart is only a year younger than Rooney, but he is the undoubted first choice between the sticks and is likely to be around for some time after Rooney has retired.
The Manchester City man already has more than 50 caps to his name and will be desperate to retain his place and move towards becoming not only the most capped keeper for England, but also the most capped player of all-time for his country.
He has the advantage of being a nailed-on selection and plays in a position often trusted to lead on the international stage.
Defenders often seem to get the nod when it comes to captaincy matters and both John Stones and Chris Smalling will hope to be candidates when Rooney does call time.
Stones is without doubt the best emerging defensive talent in the English game, having the added advantage of being able to play in a number of positions along the backline.
The Everton man is still making his way in the full international game, but two years down the line, barring injuries, you would expect Stones to be a regular for England and also to be in contention to take on the added responsibility of being captain.
Man United stopper Smalling has a little more experience than Stones and at 25 is starting to show the quality of performance that many have expected of him since he was snapped up by the Red Devils five years ago.
Should Hodgson or the man who takes his place opt to look further forward, talented Everton midfielder Ross Barkley is in with a shout of becoming the man to lead.
He has long been seen as one of the major talents in the Premier League and Toffees boss Roberto Martinez believes that Barkley has taken his game to a new level this season.
Should he continue that curve, he will almost surely become a man to build a team around and will be looked to as someone who could shoulder the added responsibility of leadership.
Even further forward than Barkley is the final of the chosen five contenders, Tottenham frontman Harry Kane.
The 22-year-old enjoyed a stellar breakthrough season with Spurs last term and has taken his domestic form on to the international stage, netting three goals in his first four games for the senior England side.
Should he continue in that vein, not only will he challenge Rooney's position as lead striker for England, but he will also be a strong contender to take over the armband as the leader of his nation.