Captaincy is a tricky beast. All the attributes of respect, communication and leadership can go to pot if a captain isn’t worth his place on the field. Making someone your captain indefinitely is therefore one of the biggest risks in sport. <br /><br />Some captains are inspired choices. Some are disasters. The disasters in some ways are easier to deal with. Ian Botham, perhaps the greatest cricketer England has ever produced, was a crap captain. His reign was mercifully short (12 matches, 8 draws and 4 losses). Philip de Glanville was a terrible choice as rugby captain, as his inclusion kept apart for a season the best centre pairing England had ever had, Carling and Guscott.<br /><br />Some captains are the natural successor (Michael Vaughn), some step into the void and make it their own (Martin Johnson). So what kind of captain is Jonny Wilkinson? Bit of both, at this stage. He fulfills one key criteria, that he is the first name on the teamsheet. But clearly, he is the best candidate for the job – young, but experienced; talented but modest; fearless on the pitch. <br /><br />Some commentators have queried his media-friendliness, or his supposed introvert nature. But Johnson was equally quiet when he started in the job. Both he and Wilkinson lead the way by performance and ability to handle pressure. <br /><br />Also, there is a clear relationship needed between coach and captain. Think Nasser Hussain and Duncan Fletcher; Beckham and Eriksson. Wilkinson gets along well with the new England coach, Andy Robinson, and their partnership may well flourish. But this raises the ugly spectre of “What happens if the captain loses form and should be dropped?”. All hell can break lose. This is why captains need to know the time to go. Shearer got it right (just). Johnson was almost too early. Hussain knew the writing was on the wall. Others completely outstay their welcome.<br /><br />Beckham may not posses the self-awareness to see a better captain-in-waiting, when clearly the best player for England in the last few seasons has been Gerrard, who would probably be a better leader too. Wilkinson may turn out to be a good or even great captain. He will certainly never be a Botham or a de Glanville. Assuming he keeps his form at 80% or better, his place in the team will never be in doubt. But at some stage, hopefully way in the future, he will have to step aside. I just hope he knows when.