AAP Soccer

Candidates to be next Socceroos captain

By AAP Newswire

THE CANDIDATES TO SUCCEED MARK MILLIGAN AS SOCCEROOS CAPTAIN

THE FAVOURITES

MAT RYAN (Age: 27; Caps: 59)

The frontrunner having taken up the armband in Milligan's absence for the past two World Cup qualifiers against Taiwan and Jordan. Has a close relationship with Graham Arnold and is an experienced and crucial member of the Socceroos set-up. Hard to overlook as the most logical choice for the role.

MATHEW LECKIE (Age: 28; Caps: 63)

Another player with leadership experience having captained the Socceroos in September's World Cup qualifying win over Kuwait. Like Ryan, has the benefit of being both a first-choice for the national team and hugely experienced. A strong contender.

THE DARK HORSES

AZIZ BEHICH (Age: 28, Caps: 38)

Captained Australia in the absence of more senior players in June's friendly against South Korea. The left-back is a reliable and experienced part of Arnold's squad. Unlikely to be given the nod ahead of Ryan or Leckie, especially with a rejuvenated Brad Smith pushing him for the starting position in Australia's defence.

TRENT SAINSBURY (Age: 27, Caps: 48)

Another member of the squad to have captained the national team, Sainsbury was among the contenders for the position before Arnold chose Milligan to lead them at January's Asian Cup in the UAE. Given Arnold is Sainsbury's father-in-law the pair have a close bond but that relationship could also potentially be a factor in the defender wanting to avoid a formal leadership role.

THE RELUCTANT OPTIONS

TOM ROGIC (Age: 26, Caps: 47)

The midfield maestro is arguably Australia's most talented player and has star quality and experience. Also has a strong relationship with Arnold from his emergence as a teenager at Central Coast. Not a huge fan of the media spotlight, however, and would probably baulk at the extra commitments that come with being captain.

AARON MOOY (Age: 29, Caps: 43)

Australia's highest-profile outfield player given he's a starting midfielder in the Premier League with Brighton, Mooy has emerged as a vital element of Arnold's team in the wake of retirements to established stars Mile Jedinak and Tim Cahill. Another who shuns the spotlight though, would be less than willing to take on the extracurricular responsibilities of the captain's armband.