The Newcastle captain remains prone to bouts of petulance, but the Tottenham midfielder has learned how to channel his inner devil
The role of the captain in modern football is not always entirely clear. Do teams need a single inspirational figure, a chest-thumper who stirs the heart and soul? An experienced head, one who can offer big-brotherly advice to his colleagues? Someone who “leads by example”, which usually just means “being better than everyone else”?
In theory it should not matter who has the armband. As long as you can tell the difference between heads and tails on a coin and are half-respected by your colleagues, you shouldn’t need much else. Oh, and just one other thing: ideally you should not brainlessly get yourself sent off at a crucial phase of a game against title contenders.