Captain Marvel hits the theatres in the UK next weekend, and with it comes the countdown to the big one next month, when all (well, some of) our favourite superheroes and villains converge to bring an end to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as we currently know it in Avengers: Endgame.

So, out of celebration/anticipation/childish exuberance, obviously we're going to sit and figure out the superhero identities of a number of Premier League players. Why wouldn't we?

Image placeholder title

Virgil van Dijk - Thor


It might seem a bit obvious, but who else was it going to be?

There's the God of Thunder himself. The colossal, majestic leader, capable of taking over and commanding things when his team needs it most. At anything close to his best, there are very few who can touch his abilities.

And then there's Chris Hemsworth's Thor, who is also pretty impressive in his own right. It's a match made in heaven. 

Image placeholder title

Mesut Ozil - Black Widow


An incomparably skilled assassin whose abilities rival that of just about anyone they're likely to come into contact with, but is prone to going missing for the big events. 

I'm describing Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, but could just as easily be referring to Arsenal's Mesut Ozil, who has famously missed over 100 games for the Gunners since joining back in 2013. 

Could his recent improved form, then, be a precursor to Natasha Romanov somehow cleaning house and finally putting an end to Thanos' killing-half-the-universe-for-no-explainable-reason nonsense? I mean, no, but we can imagine. 

Image placeholder title

Sergio Aguero - Captain America


Now hear me out. 

We considered Christian Pulisic here, because, y'know, he's American. But it just seemed a bit too obvious. 

Instead, we've opted for the formidable, dependable face of the brand. He's conventionally good looking, never hides from a challenge, and even has the blond hair for it these days. 

He might not have the super-soldier build nailed down, but life isn't perfect.

Image placeholder title

N'Golo Kante - Rocket Raccoon


Kante is a good foot or so smaller than everyone else on his team, but he's scrappy, intelligent, and a central part to any success his side might have.

He is to Chelsea what Rocket is to the Guardians of the Galaxy, although I've realised in writing this that the metaphor would have worked much better when he played for Leicester. 

We go again. 

Image placeholder title

James Milner - Iron Man


While his image couldn't be much further from that of the reckless playboy that was Tony Stark back in the heady days of Iron Man and Iron Man II, Milner is the perfect fit for his current role within the MCU. 

He's calm, composed, he's a perfect leader, and he's willing to put the team ahead of himself in any given situation. 

While he lacks the natural abilities of some of his more gifted contemporaries (Iron Man doesn't actually have any superpowers, he's basically a rich dude with an abundance of expensive toys) he makes the best of what he has, and acts as a shining example to the younger guys around him. 

Image placeholder title

Paul Pogba - Ant-Man


Ant-Man can adjust his size to anything from sub-atomic to about 60ft tall at the push of a button, and on those abilities, he should be one of the most effective heroes in the Marvel catalogue. The only thing that hinders him is an attitude problem. 

Despite his recent upswing in form, that is a fair summation of Paul Pogba's tenure at Manchester United so far. His ability isn't in question - it's the application of it that, often, leaves a lot to be desired.

Image placeholder title

Callum Paterson - The Hulk


Cardiff City's chaotic Mr. Versatile is about the least orthodox footballer you will ever encounter in your life. Playing anywhere from right back to centre-mid to up front in his career so far, the 24-year-old just uses his physicality to wreak utter havoc, seemingly without giving too much thought to the consequences. 

Do I need to elaborate on why I've chosen the Hulk as his alter-ego? Now you mention it actually, he does look a bit like Mark Ruffalo's incarnation of Bruce Banner. As long as you don't look too closely. And squint. 

Image placeholder title

Pep Guardiola - Thanos


For those not quite with it as far as the story of the Avenger saga goes, Thanos is an evil mastermind, who combines his intelligence with the power drawn from shiny jewels called Infinity Stones, to become some sort of omnipotent deity capable of wiping the floor with just anyone who crosses his path. 

If you take some liberties and re-imagine the Infinity Stones as the billions given to Guardiola to spend in the transfer market by Barcelona, Bayern and Manchester City, then he is, basically, Thanos. 

He's clever, bald, charismatic, bald, and even has the brooding masculine charm that caused loads of weirdos to fancy the big purple villain when he properly debuted in Infinity War. Also, crucially: he is bald.