From Fernandez to Foden: The future captains of every Premier League club

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From Fernandez to Foden: The future captains of every Premier League club

Could Phil Foden be a future captain for Manchester City?
Could Phil Foden be a future captain for Manchester City?Profimedia
Captains, leaders, stalwarts - every football club relies on certain players to drag them through the good times and the bad both on and off the pitch, often bridging the gap between the manager and players and the fans themselves.

Sometimes they're born from the club's youth academy, other times they're bought from elsewhere, yet finding a player who can make that connection across the wider club landscape can be rare but vital to delivering long-term success.

We live in an era where players are coming to the fore at very early ages, with some teams in England's top flight having captains still in their tender early twenties - some vocal shouters, others simply quietly leading by example. Other clubs still opt for experience and battle-hardened years of wear and tear.

Here, Flashscore takes a look at some of the potential captains for each current Premier League club in the next few years - that is if they remain in the league and the players don't switch allegiances.

Arsenal - William Saliba

William Saliba
William SalibaAFP

William Saliba has quickly evolved into one of the most reliable central defenders in the Premier League and at just 22 years of age still has plenty of years ahead of him to develop.

His importance to Mikel Arteta's side was glaringly obvious in last season's title push, with the Gunners' form severely dropping off the moment the Frenchman was ruled out for a prolonged period through injury.

Current captain Martin Odegaard himself is only 25 and may be sticking around for some time but Saliba shows all the qualities of a leader in the side which now features plenty of players who are captain material, including the likes of Declan Rice, Bukayo Saka and Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Aston Villa - Jacob Ramsey

Jacob Ramsey
Jacob RamseyProfimedia

Aston Villa youth product Jacob Ramsey has transformed into a fine footballer and has continued to grow under the tutelage of Unai Emery as the Villans climb up the table.

The 22-year-old has had to overcome injury so far this season but he is showing the technical and match-winning ability that fills the void left but fellow academy product Jack Grealish when he departed for Manchester City a few seasons ago.

Ramsey is already a firm favourite with Villa fans and should see no reason to leave the club that built him any time soon.

Bournemouth - Alex Scott

Former Bristol City man Alex Scott joined the Cherries in the summer of 2023 but has suffered with injuries for much of the campaign so far.

The 20-year-old has been brought in as one for the future but when fit is already a top choice in the centre of midfield.

He has made four Premier League appearances so far for Bournemouth, and while those came during a run of poor form he was the standout performer amongst teammates with vastly more experience. He's one to watch for the coming seasons and has the potential to be a key player for the club for many years.

Brentford - Keane Lewis-Potter

Keane Lewis-Potter (2R)
Keane Lewis-Potter (2R)AFP

Signed from Hull last summer, Lewis-Potter made 10 appearances for a strong Brentford side last season and has already featured 11 times this season.

He recently scored his first Premier League goal (in Brentford's 2-1 loss to Aston Villa) and is increasingly forcing his way into manager Thomas Frank's plans.

The Bees boss clearly sees the potential of the young English forward and is bestowing enough faith in him to deputise for the likes of Ivan Toney and Bryan Mbeumo. It perhaps will not be too long before he's pushing to start or even filling the gap should either of the aforementioned leave the club.

Brighton - Evan Ferguson

Evan Ferguson
Evan FergusonProfimedia

Irish football's new prodigal son has seen a pretty swift rise to prominence in recent seasons at Brighton.

Yet another fine example of Brighton's excellent scouting record, Ferguson was signed from Bohemians in 2020 and swiftly made light work of things at youth level, earning a place in the first team in the 2022/23 season.

Still just 19 years of age, Ferguson has already scored 12 Premier League goals and looks like a star not too far in the making for both club and country. If Brighton can keep hold of their golden boy then he'll undoubtedly be their most important asset before too long.

Burnley - James Trafford

James Trafford
James TraffordProfimedia

England U21 keeper James Trafford is beginning to show his ability and potential under Vincent Kompany at Burnley, pulling off a string of impressive displays in a team struggling to cope with Premier League life.

Trafford has legitimately given the Clarets a fighting chance in some games and has often been his side's man of the match, even in defeat.

It's unlikely the former Manchester City keeper will stay at Burnley forever - especially if the club is relegated back to the Championship this season - as he'll be keen to start pushing for a senior call-up to the England set-up before too long, but there are few other candidates worthy of predicting in the current squad.

Chelsea - Enzo Fernandez

Enzo Fernandez
Enzo FernandezProfimedia

He may not have had the most exhilarating of starts to life in England but it seems Argentine World Cup winner Enzo Fernandez is finally finding his feet at Chelsea.

The midfielder undeniably has the talent to succeed at the highest levels in club football, and epitomises the fight, aggression and technical prowess that has come to encapsulate Argentina's footballing identity.

Whether or not the 22-year-old stays in west London for the bulk of his prime years is questionable, but as he continues to grow in stature he'll be a formidable leader in their team very soon.

Crystal Palace - Marc Guehi

Marc Guehi
Marc GuehiAFP

Former Chelsea man Marc Guehi has established himself as one of the top defenders in the Premier League in the past two seasons at Crystal Palace.

His commanding and reliable performances at Selhurst Park have also caught the attention of England boss Gareth Southgate, with the 23-year-old now seriously pushing for a starting berth at Euro 2024.

Guehi's aerial prowess, excellent decision-making and ability to unleash goal-saving last-ditch tackles haven't gone unnoticed by Premier League rivals though, so it would be a shock if he remained at Crystal Palace for his prime years as the big clubs begin to circle.

If he did it would be a real coup for Hodgson's side and he'd be in line to captain the side as arguably one of their marquee players.

Everton - Jarrad Branthwaite

Jarrad Branthwaite
Jarrad BranthwaiteProfimedia

Jarrad Branthwaite has been one of the breakthrough stars of the 2022/23 season so far, much to the delight of Everton boss Sean Dyche who probably needed as much good news as he could get.

The 21-year-old has stood out in all the right ways during the Toffees' run of good form amidst the backdrop of the 10-point deduction and is already being touted for an England call-up in the not-too-distant future.

Signed from Carlisle in 2020 for just £1 million, Branthwaite is looking like a savvy piece of business and the type of defender Everton fans can sing the praises of for seasons to come - he may face a bit of competition for the future captaincy from the likes of James Garner though, who also looks to be developing nicely.

Fulham - Harry Wilson

Harry Wilson (2L)
Harry Wilson (2L)AFP

By no means a youngster any more - Fulham aren't overly blessed with youth talent at this current time - Harry Wilson seems to have finally found a place to flourish at Craven Cottage.

The Welshman has become a driving force for the Cottagers this season and at 26 years old is starting to look like a top-drawer Premier League footballer.

Should he stay in west London - which he perhaps should - Wilson could make the place his own, with his set pieces and free-kick ability vital in big moments for his side.

Liverpool - Curtis Jones

Curtis Jones
Curtis JonesProfimedia

Curtis Jones has seemingly been groomed as a long-term successor to Jordan Henderson in Liverpool's midfield for a few seasons now, and with the England man now long departed, Jones has taken his development up a notch.

As Jurgen Klopp has moved to rebuild his midfield this season, Jones has remained an option from the bench and performed admirably when called upon. He's also been used heavily in Liverpool's Europa League campaign thus far this season and is showing a growing level of maturity in his game.

Still only 22, the young Englishman now has four seasons of Premier League experience under his belt and looks set to continue a highly-valued "local lad" tradition at Liverpool, although Trent Alexander-Arnold may end up pipping him to both the captaincy and that midfield spot.

Luton - Ryan Giles

While it's hard to see Luton enjoying too much of a prolonged stay in the Premier League, they're certainly making a good go of it.

With a new stadium on the horizon, the club is focusing on its long-term ambitions and have been quietly signing and developing a few young players.

Ryan Giles stands out as one of the more promising of those. The former Wolves youth has made some solid appearances in the league this season after an impressive campaign in the Championship with Middlesbrough last term, where he contributed 11 assists in 47 matches.

Manchester City - Phil Foden

Phil Foden
Phil FodenProfimedia

Phil Foden's trophy cabinet is so jam-packed it's easy to forget that the young Manchester native is still just 23 years of age.

The local lad has blossomed into an elite player under the expert tutelage of Pep Guardiola and it's hard to see the attacker ever leaving his boyhood club, even after the Spanish coach inevitably does leave.

The importance of a youth product who understands the club culture and city rivalries should never be underestimated, and Foden's increasing value and importance for both Manchester City and his country - plus his impressive experience of winning top major honours during the club's greatest-ever period - make him a likely leadership candidate in the future.

Manchester United - Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford
Marcus RashfordProfimedia

Marcus Rashford has traversed many trials and tribulations on and off the pitch throughout his career but it's hard to see the Manchester United forward buckling under the pressure.

Despite some sticky patches in form on occasions, the 26-year-old has always bounced back and restored faith amongst fanbases for club and country.

Similarly to Foden, he brings a valuable homegrown flavour that is impossible to replace and appears to genuinely love the club. No doubt he'll outlast most United managers and surely be named captain once Bruno Fernandes leaves the post.

Newcastle - Sven Botman

Sven Botman
Sven BotmanProfimedia

Sven Botman has arguably been the best signing so far of the Saudi era at Newcastle.

The commanding Dutch defender is another in a long line of impressive centre-backs being churned out of the Netherlands and has already shown in no uncertain terms his importance to Newcastle.

The 23-year-old was integral to the Toon's run to the top four last season, with Eddie Howe's side barely losing or conceding whilst Botman was in the side.

His importance is showing this season too, with Newcastle's form significantly dropping off since his long-term injury.

Nottingham Forest - Morgan Gibbs-White

Morgan Gibbs-White
Morgan Gibbs-WhiteProfimedia

A few eyebrows were raised when Nottingham Forest stumped up north of £40 million to prize Morgan Gibbs-White away from Wolves last season.

Indeed, Gibbs-White struggled in his maiden year with the club, who just about survived the drop in their first season back in the top flight for many, many years.

He's pushed on now though and appears to be revelling in his importance to a Forest side otherwise lacking a bit of quality. He was part of the England U17 World Cup win in 2017 and U21 European Championship victory in June, so he's certainly someone to keep an eye on with an appetite for success.

Sheffield United - Cameron Archer

Sheffield United have it all to do to avoid the drop this season but one bright spark has been the swift progress of Cameron Archer.

A product of Aston Villa's academy, summer signing Archer has featured heavily in the Premier League this season for a Sheffield United side struggling for consistency, recently finding his feet and adding some much-needed goals to the tally for the Blades.

In the unlikely event that they stay up for the foreseeable future, Archer's experience now would serve him well as a leadership candidate in a few years.

Tottenham - Oliver Skipp

Oliver Skipp
Oliver SkippAFP

Having captained England at U16, U17, U18 and U21 levels, there are few on this list seemingly more readymade than Oliver Skipp to wear an armband for their clubs in the future.

The Tottenham academy product has done well to establish himself as a useful first-team option for Spurs' recent string of managers, most recently appearing off the bench at pivotal moments under current boss Ange Postecoglou.

It would appear the Spurs hierarchy has big plans for Skipp going forward, with the defensive midfielder playing the game fuss-free and displaying impressive calmness at a level that stretches well beyond his 23 years.

West Ham - Edson Alvarez

Edson Alvarez
Edson AlvarezAFP

Signed in the summer from Ajax, West Ham's Edson Alvarez is another one of the older players on this list but given the near-£40 million investment paid by the Hammers, it's hard to see him going anywhere in the next few seasons.

A solid and dominating midfield general brought in as a direct replacement for former captain Declan Rice, Alvarez is very much the type of player Hammers fans like to see in their ranks: energetic, physical and intelligent.

He might get a few cards along the way but his desire and mentality are second to none in the squad, and he's the type of player that others will follow into battle.

Wolves - Boubacar Traore

Realistically, it's hard to look past current Wolves captain Max Kilman as the primary contender - the 26-year-old centre-back is the right choice now and would be for the future.

Wolves are a club that tends to suffer from a high turnover of players and they aren't blessed with a great deal of academy prospects.

Kilman has been the subject of interest in the past too, so if he were to leave then more experienced players such as Jonny, Matt Doherty, Craig Dawson and Mario Lemina would likely take the mantle for at least a season or two.

Should they require some longevity, the only real candidate in the current squad would be young Malian Boubacar Traore, who is building up to a decent level of experience in the Premier League and is only 22.

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