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'From Robson to Maguire' - All Manchester United captains in the Premier League era!

11:41 AM SGT 24/4/22
United captains
From Bryan Robson to Eric Cantona Manchester United have had some talismanic figures wearing the armband

There have many great personalities who have led Manchester United amidst triumph and tragedy. While a few are remembered to date some have faded into oblivion with the passage of time.

In the early 1980s, 'Captain Marvel' Bryan Robson was given the captain's armband by Ron Atkinson. The coach broke the bank to sign Robson from West Brom for a British record transfer fee and had no qualms in handing over the captaincy to the talismanic midfielder.

It is believed that even former Liverpool manager Bill Shankly advised Atkinson to go all out for Robson. "Every penny it takes Ron, every penny it takes," Shankly told Atkinson.

However, Sir Matt Busby quit the board because he thought no player could be worth more than a million pounds. In spite of that, Robson survived and United started to reap the dividends. Even Sir Alex Ferguson acknowledged his worth as it was Robson who helped the Scottish manager to his first silverware when he won the 1990 FA Cup.

In fact, when the Premier League era kicked off Robson still had the armband. However, his qualities were on the wane and Ferguson would often bench him and then the armband would be worn by Steve Bruce.

Robson played 466 times for United and scored 99 goals. He was the United captain for 12 years, sharing the role with Bruce for the last two years.

Who were United's captains in the Premier League era?

  • Steve Bruce

    Steve Bruce (1992-96)

    Bruce was already the co-captain along with Robson from 1992. In 1994, he assumed the charge himself The centre back would give his all on the field and would even run through a brick wall if he had to for the sake of his team. He made 414 appearances for the club and even led the side to a domestic double in the 1995-96 season. In fact, it was his brace against Sheffield Wednesday that helped United to win the inaugural Premier League title in 1992-93.

  • Eric Cantona

    Eric Cantona (1996-97)

    The Frenchman became the first player to lead United who was not from the conglomeration of the British Isles. He was a popular figure in the dressing room and was key to United's success in the initial years of the Premier League.

    Ferguson built his team around Cantona and he delivered on most occassions. He made 185 appearances for the Red Devils and scored 82 goals. His shock retirement at the end of the 1996-97 season at the age of just 30 stunned the footballing world.

  • Roy Keane Manchester United

    Roy Keane (1997-2005)

    After Cantona, it was Roy Keane who took up the armband. He was one of the most committed players in a United shirt and could inspire the team to the acme of success as he played the game with a fierce passion.

    He had the qualities of a complete central midfielder and was primarily known for his late runs into the box, high work-rate, and perfectly timed tackles. He scored on his home debut and went on to become the blue-eyed boy of the fans after finding the net in a Manchester derby. He made 480 appearances for United and scored 51 goals. During his stint as the captain, United won four league titles, two FA Cups, and one Champions League.

  • Gary Neville

    Gary Neville (2005-2011)

    Gary Neville was one of Ferguson's most trusted lieutenants and belonged to the Class of '92 batch. He played for almost 20 years in United and six as a captain. With 602 appearances for the club, he ranks fifth on the all-time appearance list.

    The 2006 League Cup was his first trophy as a captain. However, the UEFA Champions League win in Moscow against Chelsea remains the most cherished trophy as a captain.

  • Nemanja Vidic - Manchester United

    Nemanja Vidic (2011-2014)

    The Serbian defender was one of the fan favourites and Ferguson chose him as the successor of Neville. His partnership with Rio Ferdinand at the heart of defence remains one of the best that United have ever had.

    In his first season as captain United won the 19th league title and the 20th one was also won under his leadership. After finishing his contract he moved to Inter Milan on a free transfer.

  • Wayne Rooney, Mancheter United

    Wayne Rooney (2014-2017)

    Louis van Gaal chose Rooney as his skipper after taking over the reins at United. He won the FA Cup, the Europa League, and League Cup as the skipper.

    He is the United's all-time record goalscorer with 253 goals to his name in 559 appearances. As a United player, he made won five Premier League titles, one FA Cup and three continental titles including one FIFA Club World Cup.

  • Michael Carrick Manchester United English Premier League 08112014

    Michael Carrick (2017-2018)

    Following the departure of Rooney, Michael Carrick was named the United captain. However, he could hardly feature for United in that season as he had to undergo a complex medical procedure for an irregular heart rhythm after suffering dizziness during a match and in training. 

    He retired at the end of the 2017-18 season and joined the club's coaching staff.

  • antonio valencia

    Antonio Valencia (2018-19)

    Valencia was also struggling with injuries after being appointed as the club captain. He made just nine appearances as skipper in the 2018-19 season.

    In the 2016-17 Europa League final he had the captain's armband at the start as Rooney started on the bench.

    After 339 appearances for United, he returned to South America and joined LDU Quito.

  • On this Day Ashley Young Manchester United

    Ashley Young (2019)

    On April 16, 2017, Young led United for the first time in a 2-0 win against Chelsea. In August 2019, he was appointed as the full-time captain. However, in Janaury 2020 he was sold to Inter Milan.

  • Harry Maguire Manchester United Everton Premier League 2021-22

    Harry Maguire (2020 - Present)

    In July 2019 he was made the world's most expensive defender when United paid close to  £80 million to Leicester City for his services. On January 17, 2020, he was made the captain by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.