Captain Schmaptian Say Socceroos Leaders on Eve of FIFA 2018

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Much to-do about who will captain the Socceroos.

The ceremonial honour rightfully belongs to Tim Cahill. He qualifies on the basis of making it to a fourth World Cup Finals tournament and having scored the most goals for Australia in World Cup play.

Yet, Cahill’s name is not in the conversation, even though he has a petrol station named after him.

Trent Sainsbury has his hand up, feeling confident apparently, that the practice of beheading a losing captain has long been abandoned. Sainsbury is vying for the position by acting as though he is not interested, which should give some indication that his interest is truly keen.

Mile Jedinak has held the role since 2013, but he is no lock to start against France come June 16 and everyone knows that a non-captain is a non-starter without starting. If Bert van Marwijk chooses an 11 that does not include Jedinak, it will not be difficult to find Sainsbury.

Some viewed recent training as offering portents of the future of the Socceroos’ captaincy. Jedinak was paired with Jackson Irvine for small-sided games and Irvine is another fringe starter.

Sainsbury, to his credit, served in the role for the first time in friendly play against the Czech Republic and tried to hand over the arm band to Jedinak when the latter came on the pitch after the half.

“I offered up the armband but the boss said no,” Sainsbury said. “But I’m here to play football not worry about an armband.It’d be a nice little thing to put on the CV but at the same time for me it’s not important to be captain. It’s important to be out there playing. I think (if) Mile starts he’ll be the captain.”

Jedinak returned the praise, saying of Sainsbury, “He did a fantastic job. He’s someone who’s well respected in the group. He’s vocal, he’s got that presence.”

Will the true captain of the Socceroos please stand up?