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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a tricky decision about who will succeed Antonio Valencia

Uncertainty swirls around Manchester United this summer and one situation that needs to be remedied is the leadership vacuum. 

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Antonio Valencia had the club captaincy last season but has since departed on a free transfer to LDU Quito after a decade of service at Old Trafford. 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is considering a number of options, so who will be the man to take United into what they hope will be a new era of success?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a tricky decision about who will succeed Antonio Valencia

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a tricky decision about who will succeed Antonio Valencia

Paul Pogba 

What a turn up for the books this would be. It’s almost like the teacher’s tactic in school to give a naughty child more responsibility so they behave better. 

Pogba has made no secret of his desire to leave the club this summer and his agent Mino Raiola even came out to declare that everyone at United knows how much he wants to go. 

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Real Madrid and Juventus have been the two interested parties but with United reluctant to sell, and the buying clubs struggling to come up with £150m, there’s every chance he starts for United against Chelsea on August 11. 

Pogba showed superb leadership qualities in the French World Cup winning side and dressing room footage from the final showed him laying down the law to his team-mates. 

But after what many fans must regard as a betrayal over the last month or so, Solskjaer would have to anticipate a backlash if he gave Pogba the armband. 

Captaincy material rating – 2/5 

Paul Pogba would be an incredible controversial choice as the next club captain

Paul Pogba would be an incredible controversial choice as the next club captain

Paul Pogba would be an incredible controversial choice as the next club captain 

Ashley Young

One of the more experienced players in the United squad at 34, Young is now the elder statesman of the group. 

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He is known for his professionalism and dedication and was name-checked by Solskjaer last season as a leader who stepped into the role seamlessly for the injured Valencia along with Paul Pogba, David de Gea and Chris Smalling. 

Young is unquestionably entering the twilight of his career and may struggle for consistent game time this season, which would count against him in the captaincy stakes, although his versatility will work in his favour.

The England international has been at the club since 2011, a rare commodity in the current United squad and he knows the set-up inside out.  

Captain material rating – 3/5

Ashley Young stood in as captain last season on occasions and could take up the role

Ashley Young stood in as captain last season on occasions and could take up the role

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Ashley Young stood in as captain last season on occasions and could take up the role 

Chris Smalling

The centre-back is well respected by his team-mates but crucially adored by those in Manchester for his contribution to the local community. 

He is incredibly active with charity work and paid out his own pocket for a Christmas party last year for Barnabus. Smalling is also an ambassador for Football Beyond Borders and brought along a number of team-mates to a dinner in April. 

Clearly he is looked up to and a shining example to young players, so the 29-year-old is definitely in the running for the job. 

That said, Smalling’s place in the team is under threat as Solskjaer is looking for big money reinforcements in central defence this summer.  

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Captaincy material rating – 3.5/5 

Chris Smalling is respected by his team-mates but faces a fight for his place

Chris Smalling is respected by his team-mates but faces a fight for his place

Chris Smalling is respected by his team-mates but faces a fight for his place 

Marcus Rashford

This might be a bit of a wildcard selection with Rashford still just 21-years-old. But the striker is United through and through and could be seen as the man to spearhead a fresh new team full of youth and attacking endevour. 

Having graduated from the academy to establish himself as a first team star, already with more than 100 appearances to his name, Rashford could be an inspired choice. 

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The club have already backed him with a new £250,000-per-week four-year deal, so he’d expect to play every week, and there aren’t many captaincy candidates you can say that about. 

That said, there is still a level of immaturity about the forward and it would be a huge risk, not to mention a heavy burden on his shoulders. 

Captaincy material rating – 2.5/5

Marcus Rashford still has some growing up to do but could be the man for a new era

Marcus Rashford still has some growing up to do but could be the man for a new era

Marcus Rashford still has some growing up to do but could be the man for a new era

David de Gea

The Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year for four of the last six seasons, De Gea is United’s most consistent top level performer despite a few wobbles last term. 

He is set to sign a whopping new £375,000-per-week deal and could lead the team for years to come. 

De Gea isn’t a particularly demonstrative or vocal character which might count against him but there is a quiet authority and he has plenty of experience at Old Trafford since moving from Atletico Madrid eight years ago. 

He’s the first name on the team sheet and would be a solid choice. 

Captaincy material rating – 4/5 

David de Gea has a great chance at being named the new Manchester United club captain
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David de Gea has a great chance at being named the new Manchester United club captain

David de Gea has a great chance at being named the new Manchester United club captain

Victor Lindelof

The defender has improved dramatically at United after an inauspicious start had plenty of supporters claiming he was not up to the level required. 

He emerged as the team’s best centre-back last season and that is always a solid position to captain any side from. Plenty of the great skippers in history have operated from the heart of defence from Fabio Cannavaro to Paolo Maldini and Franz Beckenbauer. 

The Swede’s performances have been such that Barcelona reportedly registered interest but Lindelof nipped any talk of a move in the bud.

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It would be a huge responsibility for the for the 24-year-old fairly early in his United career and could be considered a surprise selection. 

Captaincy material rating – 3/5 

Victor Lindelof came on leaps and bounds last season and was a consistent performer

Victor Lindelof came on leaps and bounds last season and was a consistent performer

Victor Lindelof came on leaps and bounds last season and was a consistent performer