By 90Min
November 14, 2017

It's been a rather busy international break in South Wales. Following the devastating news that Claude Makelele is heading to FC Eupen as their new manager, Swansea swiftly followed that up with the announcement of Leon Britton taking the Frenchman's role - as a weird kind of player/coach deal (circa Garry Monk 2014, except without the manager job following soon (hopefully)).

Of course, similarly to Monk, it's highly likely that Britton will be much more of a coach than a player from here on in - which is excellent news. Although the Swans will lose his brilliance on the pitch, the truth is his waning years as a footballer deny him the legs he once had, and unfortunately it's not the same anymore; and this transition period will be the end of his playing career. 

That said, he can now keep the club's values through his coaching - something the Swans desperately seem to need right now. But again, like last summer, there is now a leadership void amongst the playing squad. 

Step in Angel Rangel.

Rangel - as Welsh as a man from Spain could ever be - is Swansea through and through; possibly more so than Britton. A decade at the club, 325 appearances, a mark from the great era of Roberto Martinez; the 35-year-old knows the club inside and out, and is a hugely influential player in the changing rooms - heralding massive respect from all of his teammates, and the fans adore him.

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On the face of it, ignore his age and you've got yourself a brilliant captaincy candidate. But football is more complex than relationships with teammates. Word around the Liberty Stadium is that the Spaniard played a crucial role behind the scenes when the club was in last year's slump, and who could forget THAT goal against Crystal Palace that kicked off the Paul Clement revolution?

But the truth is, he's confined to the changing rooms. Much like Britton was. The difference was that Britton's inability to play came through the strenuous demands of a central midfielder - in your mid-thirties, that's a big ask, and he played whenever he could. Reversely, Rangel can't get in the team because he isn't good enough. Cold hard truth.

He's played two minutes of Premier League football this season, and has been stuck second fiddle to Kyle Naughton ever since the right-back's arrival in 2015. While on the training ground and away from matches Rangel can put his captaincy to good use, the obvious leadership void during the most crucial 90 minutes of the week still remains with Clement's latest decision.

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Federico Fernandez will continue to guide the team during matches (let it be noted that he has done so very well this season, despite the team's overall failures); but like a divorced couple - in this situation, Rangel having the kids during the week, and Fernandez on the weekends - the children become confused, negatively impacted. It doesn't help the club's current crisis (yes, crisis - two wins in 11 matches is a crisis, accept it).

This is definitely a short term choice from Clement, and one can only hope that he's grooming someone like Alfie Mawson as the long term replacement - the 23-year-old not quite ready just yet. But wake up and smell the coffee, Swansea's struggles started when Ashley Williams left the club and the team became lost. The club needs a captain who is the first name on the team-sheet; the selection shouldn't be based on whoever knows the club the best - in that case, give one of the tea ladies the armband.

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Now don't get this wrong, Rangel is a (borderline) club legend, he's been through it all and his love from the Jack Army is fully deserved, but to put it bluntly, he's the wrong choice.

Fernandez, Mawson, maybe even Lukasz Fabianski - or Leroy Fer? These are the names that should be brought up. First team players, influential on the pitch as well as the in the changing rooms. A player wants to turn to his captain and know that he'll make the desired difference on the pitch - it's a mental game. Williams had that down to a tee. Britton, whenever he played, brought that. The Liberty would echo with 'He's captain of Wales' when Ash roamed the pitch, and it lifted the players. Likewise with the tear-jerking cries of 'Leon! Leon! Leon!' - you can feel the difference.

 

Memory fails when trying to remember the last time Angel Rangel's name rang out across the Liberty.

It would be great to know that the club has both a manager and a captain that can be kicking around for the next ten years. It's comforting. Angel Rangel is a part-time footballer nowadays. It's short term. It's a poor decision.

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