Who are the Premier League captains for 2023/24?
A leader on an off the pitch, the person who separates right from wrong and good from bad, the captain is arguably the most important player in a football team. They lead by example, they answer the difficult questions and they’re responsible for keeping everyone in line inside the dressing room.
It’s a big responsibility and one that is only suitable for a certain kind of player. It used to be whoever shouted the loudest, but modern football is a lot more nuanced, and the decision to give someone the armband could be defining.
This summer has seen some significant changes in the captain department in the Premier League, so don’t worry if you haven’t been able to keep up. That’s what we’re here for.
Let’s take a look at each club’s captain for the 2023/24 Premier League season.
The Arsenal armband has been cursed in recent years. First it was Granit Xhaka, whose public meltdown lost him the captaincy, and then it was Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was also stripped of the armband following some disciplinary issues and a general lack of commitment to the club.
Odegaard has managed to reverse this concerning trend, however, proving to be an effective leader on the pitch. His performances set the standard last season for the Gunners and he was able to help create a more harmonious dressing room atmosphere than the Emirates has been used to recently.
The attacking midfielder also captains Norway, receiving the armband at just 22.
Another high-profile captaincy switch, former Aston Villa manager opted to give John McGinn the armband.
The awkward bit was that he had to take the captaincy off Tyrone Mings, who is still at the club. Such was Gerrard’s lack of faith in Mings, he didn’t even name the centre-back vice-captain, instead offering that position to Emiliano Martinez.
Mings probably wasn’t too disappointed to see the back of his former coach.
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Despite having only landed on the south coast in the summer of 2022, Neto was given the captaincy in February of last season. Then manager Gary O’Neill, who has since been replaced by Andoni Iraola, took the responsibility away from Lloyd Kelly, instead offering it to the Brazilian shot-stopper.
Whether Iraola decides to change the captain again remains to be seen, while the arrival of goalkeeper Andrei Radu from Inter may create competition for Neto’s starting berth.
With last season’s captain Pontus Jansson leaving the club for Malmo this summer, Norgaard is the man Thomas Frank has entrusted with the armband. While no official announcement has been made, Frank reportedly confirmed this decision in a press conference at the end of last season.
The Brentford manager has put his faith in his compatriot, something that will likely be rewarded given the midfielder’s work ethic and consistency.
In a summer where Alexis MacAllister has left and Moises Caicedo could be on his way to Chelsea, the good news is that club captain Lewis Dunk has signed a new deal with Brighton.
Dunk’s new contract will keep him at the club until 2026 if everything goes to plan and he is readying himself to skipper the Seagulls in their first ever European campaign after an impressive sixth-placed finish in the Premier League last year.
When Vincent Kompany arrived at Turf Moor as Burnley boss, he had a difficult job to do: pick a new captain. The departure of Ben Mee meant there was a vacancy and Kompany decided to fill it with stalwart midfielder Cork.
The 34-year-old had just signed a new two-year deal and managed to get Burnley back into the Premier League during his first season as skipper.
Following Cesar Azpilicueta’s move to Atletico Madrid this summer, Chelsea are now without a captain. While there are plenty of candidates for the role, Mauricio Pochettino is yet to officially announce the next skipper.
Thiago Silva is perhaps the obvious choice given he is already the vice-captain and has demonstrated wonderful leadership skills in the past, although Reece James could be chosen as the Blues look to establish him as the club’s new leader.
Both Silva and James have donned the armband in pre-season, so it may come down to the toss of a coin.
Similarly to Chelsea, Crystal Palace are currently captainless. Luka Milivojevic’s departure means a space has opened up and it will be Roy Hodgson’s job to fill it.
The obvious choices to replace Milivojevic are the defensive trio of Joel Ward, Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen, with the former probably the most suitable for the role due to his experience and understanding of the club.
Captain of Everton and Ireland, Coleman is what comes to mind when thinking of an old-school skipper. Not glamorous, not awe-inspiring, but certainly a hell of a leader.
Having just signed a one-year contract extension with the Toffees, Coleman will be hoping some other leaders emerge at the club to ease the burden on his ageing shoulders. Everton will need his commitment, focus and drive if they are to improve on last season’s dismal showing.
Although he rarely started last season, meaning Tim Ream took the armband in his absence, Cairney is still the Cottagers’ official club captain. He’s worn the armband since the 2017/18 season and showed his loyalty to Fulham by sticking with the club when they were relegated to the Championship.
There have been a few links touting him with a move away from the club this summer, but if he is at Craven Cottage next season, he will certainly be the club captain.
Not only have Liverpool lost their captain this summer in Jordan Henderson, they have lost their vice-captain as well in James Milner. The departure of the two midfielders has raised questions over a potential lack of leadership in the squad, something which will only become apparent in time.
Jurgen Klopp hasn’t named Henderson’s successor, but it’s believed that it will be between Virgil van Dijk, who currently captains the Netherlands, and local lad Trent Alexander-Arnold. The former looks most likely at present given he captained Liverpool in Henderson and Milner’s absence last season.
Other names to throw into the mix are Alisson, Mohamed Salah and Andy Robertson, but they would be more left-field choices.
Lockyer’s end to last season was quite astonishing. While he did captain Luton to the Premier League for the first time, the centre-back collapsed in the Championship play-off final against Coventry and was rushed to hospital.
Undergoing heart surgery, Lockyer has now wonderfully made a full recovery, even signing a new deal with the Hatters. He will be the first captain to ever lead Luton out in the Premier League and has provided one of the good-news stories of the summer.
Chosen as the captain by his Manchester City teammates, Ilkay Gundogan took over from Fernandinho at the beginning of the treble-winning 2022/23 season. He was pivotal to the club’s success on and off the pitch and will be sorely missed following his move to Barcelona.
It is expected that one of the vice-captain group containing Rodri, Kevin de Bruyne, Ruben Dias and Kyle Walker will take over, although the latter might not be at the Etihad next term.
Safe money would be on Dias at centre-back given his obvious suitability for the role in terms of position and play style.
In yet another devastating blow to Harry Maguire’s self-confidence, Erik ten Hag stripped the centre-back of the Man United captaincy this summer. While an understandable move given Maguire’s waning influence, it still has the potential to create some upset in the dressing room.
Bruno Fernandes will be his successor, someone who simultaneously looks like perfect captain material and the last person you would want to give the armband to. Perhaps the weight of being captain will help the midfielder be a little more well-measured in his conduct on the pitch.
Regardless, Fernandes will undoubtedly give his all for the Red Devils and Ten Hag will hope his faith in the Portuguese will be rewarded next season.
Despite his diminished game time since the Saudi revolution on Tyneside, Lascelles remains the club captain for the time being. Lascelles looked like an obvious captaincy choice during Newcastle’s years of struggle, but now rarely plays enough to wear the armband.
There have also been reports linking the centre-back with a St. James’ Park exit this summer, meaning he may not be captain for too much longer.
The obvious candidate to replace him should he leave would be Kieran Trippier, while the likes of Bruno Guimaraes, Sven Botman and Nick Pope may also be on the shortlist.
Steve Cooper announced that Worrall would be Forest captain at the beginning of last season, a decision that was justified throughout the remainder of the campaign.
Worrall played 30 times for the club last season and was one of the more consistent faces in an ever-changing starting linuep. His leadership proved key in Forest’s survival.
Following Billy Sharp’s emotional Sheffield United exit, the Blades are yet another club without an official captain as of yet.
Irish centre-back John Egan is expected to take over from Sharp and has deputised for the forward when he has been absent from the team. The centre-back was with United last time they were in the Premier League and could offer some much-needed experience and leadership to the starting linuep.
Lloris is technically still Spurs skipper, but will most likely not be by the time the transfer window shuts. The Frenchman has publicly declared his desire to try something new this summer, while vice-captain Harry Kane could also be on his way out of north London amid Bayern Munich interest.
Should both Tottenham stars leave, then Ange Postecoglou may find choosing a new captain tricky as there are not a wealth of leadership options in the squad. The likes of Cristian Romero, Eric Dier and Ben Davies are options, while another candidate Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg may also be heading for the exit door.
Declan Rice’s inevitable departure this summer means that David Moyes should have been planning for a new captain for some time. Now the £105m midfielder has joined Arsenal, it’s time for Moyes to put plans into action.
There are a number of candidates capable of replacing Rice including the likes of Angelo Ogbonna, Tomas Soucek, Lukasz Fabianski and Aaron Cresswell, although the latter has been subject of interest from Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Only taking the armband from Conor Coady last summer, Ruben Neves has already vacated it at Molineux. His move to Al Hilal, as well as Coady’s to Leicester, means the club don’t have a captain at present.
Former boss Bruno Lage had previously spoken about the captain credentials of Max Kilman, although Julen Lopetegui may have other ideas of who is next skipper will be.