It was often said last season that we lacked a leader on the pitch in the absence of the injured Graeme Murty and that was partly to blame for our capitulation in the second half of the season. With the armband being passed round like a hot potato it was no surprise, and the team that featured for a large part of that second half of the year was captained by James Harper, Kevin Doyle and Michael Duberry. None of those really stand out as the ideal captain and Harper has already openly criticized the armband and commented on how it affected his game – do we really want to go down the road of giving it to someone who clearly doesn`t want it again?
Ivar Ingimarsson is the player most fans would like to see take on the role of club captain but as much as I respect Ivar and cannot wait for him to return to the team, there are also a couple of underlying issues with the Icelandic defender as well. Firstly he is currently injured and could well be 6 to 8 weeks away from a return meaning he is likely to miss at least the first month of the season. Secondly cast your mind back to this time last year and Steve Coppell`s decision to award the vice captaincy role to Harper, there were no arguments from Ingimarsson and he was pleased to get rid of the extra responsibility.
So after sifting through the rest of the possibilities and counting them out, Brynjar Gunnarsson (Not the long term solution), Adam Federici (Don`t like goalkeepers as captains) and Liam Rosenior, Chris Armstrong and anyone else who is classed now as a senior player in the squad, I would love our new captain to be Alex Pearce.
If Rodgers did this, and I am sure he would have the bottle; it would remind of Chelsea giving the armband to John Terry a few years ago and look what happened there. Pearce even wears the number 26 shirt!
The centre back has come through the Royals academy and has captained sides all the way through to reserve team level, he is a very mature player for his years and would be a fantastic ambassador for the new era of Reading football club. It was only last season that Michael Duberry described Pearce as Mr Reading FC and a future captain of the club, high praise indeed from an experienced centre back (even if I did describe him as not ideal captain material!). Pearce is often representing the club in the community and is a good talker both on and off the pitch.
Now I can already hear the doubters questioning whether he will be first choice, as a captain sat on the bench is hardly ideal! However with Duberry gone, Bikey probably going and suspended for the first 4 games if he doesn`t and Ingimarsson also still recovering from his knee injury that rules him out of the 2nd half of last season then he must be shoe in to start in the opening game against Nottingham Forest.
So instead of contemplating which ‘senior pro` should get the armband, lets give it to one of the ‘golden generation` of youngsters who we believe are going to lead the club forward into a brand new era. It would also be a massive boost to Pearce himself for Rodgers to say not just ‘you`re in my team`, but ‘I want you to lead my team forward and put my ideas on the pitch`.