Declan Rice is the 7th Arsenal player to captain England – Here are the other six

Declan Rice on Tuesday became the 7th Gunner to captain England since World War II. The midfielder joins a who’s who of Arsenal and England legends.

Alan Ball (Captained England 6 times)

The only player on this list to win a major honour for his nation, meaning for nearly 6 decades the midfielder can claim to be the youngest Englishmen to lift the World Cup.

He assisted England’s third goal in the 1966 Final with the image of the 22-year-old running around Wembley with socks round his ankles an iconic image.

That was when he played for Blackpool, but it was with Arsenal when he captained his country, after we paid a then record fee to Everton. England didn’t lose any games when he had the armband.

He would not be the first or last to clash with the then England boss Don Revie, the skipper suddenly not called up. What hurt the 30-year-old most was his manager not ringing to call him, his wife having to learn from a journalist who leaked the news.

He deserved more respect, including from the government who took way too long to make him an MBE (2000).

Mr. Ball passed away from a heart attack in 2007. He was 61.

Tony Adams (Captained England 15 times)

Given the big personalities England had in the late 90’s, you didn’t need the armband to be a leader.

Our defender led the Three Lions though at Euro 96, sad in hindsight as it put more pressure on an alcoholic who has since admitted how he would sit alone in his hotel room and be crippled by the weight of expectation. He relied on certain vices to get him through the night.

When Alan Shearer retired from international football after Euro 2000, Adams was trusted to captain the last ever fixture at the old Wembley (he would turn out to be the final Englishman to score at the iconic stadium).

Little could anyone imagine at the time, that 1-0 defeat to Germany would be the final bow for both England’s manager and skipper. If Kevin Keegan didn’t quit that day, maybe the centreback adds to his 66 caps?

But the introduction of Sven Goran Erickson meant the introduction of younger talent, and with injuries piling up, Adams decided to prioritise Arsenal, hanging up his boots for his country.

David Platt (Captained 19 times)

You could argue was England’s best player at a dismal time in their history.

Led his country at Euro 92 where the team failed to get out of the group stage, followed by failure to qualify for the 94 World Cup.

During qualification, the fantastic ‘Impossible Job documentary ‘ shows footage of Graham Taylor informing the midfielder he was going to try the armband on Stuart Pearce in a battle to try anything to reverse the nation’s fortunes.

Terry Venables disagreed, immediately reinstating Platt in the role.

Platt used his experience to try and smooth a couple of off field issues. He famously tried (and failed) to calm away fans in Ireland whose behaviour forced the friendly to be abandoned.

He was the one of the few in Hong Kong who suggested that a night out might not be a good idea!

David Seaman (Captained England 1 time)

If ever there was a captain whose duties that week were more stressful off the pitch.

The 5th keeper to captain England, as expected our goalie didn’t have much to do against Moldova in a World Cup qualifier.

Yet the one-time gig meant Seaman became the face of the national team days after Princess Dianna’s funeral.

As an ambassador for the team, Seaman laid flowers at Buckingham Palace and signed the book of condolences.

On behalf of the squad, he then announced all match fees would be donated to the Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

Given that Glen Hoddle had been vocal that those in goal shouldn’t be made captains, it’s believed the manager thought it was fitting the team be led out by an MBE on such an occasion.

Martin Keown (Captained England 1 time)

Keown only captained his nation once but don’t underestimate the importance. Days After England had lost the last ever fixture at the old Wembley to Germany, the Three Lions were an unorganized mess.

Kevin Keegan had resigned; Alan Shearer had retired, and injuries meant Keown would be the 4th different player in as many games to get a go with the armband.

The team was essentially without a home, permanent manager, permanent captain – with the FA unprepared as usual.

Injuries to experienced talent meant there were not many obvious candidates for the role.

Caretaker boss Howard Wilkinson boarded the flight to Finland still undecided who would get the honour. Our centerback couldn’t do much more, playing in a defence that kept a clean sheet in Helsinki.

Sol Campbell (Captained England 3 times)

Despite being made captain by Sven Goran Erikson for a friendly in 2005, Sol Campbell has always been vocal that it was the colour of his skin because he didn’t add to his 3 caps.

The defender states if he was white, he would have skippered his country for 10 years.

Glen Hoddle In 1998 has made the defender, at the time, England’s second youngest ever captain.

Dan Smith

ow can you get tickets for Man City v Arsenal?

Do you want to read our whole collection of history articles? Check out our Just Arsenal History section

CALLING ALL ARSENAL FANS! Anyone who would like to contribute an Article or Video opinion piece on JustArsenal, please contact us through this link

Tags captain England


  1. The one hundred million man could prove the most successful Arsenal captain to lead the charge, given the sheer talent on disposal by the British.

    But first Gary Southgate like Arteta must improve his man management skills, to aid the latest Arsenal man

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors