Who was the first black player to captain England’s national team?November 10, 2020
The Three Lions have seen trailblazing figures such as Paul Ince and Mary Phillip wearing the captain’s armband for the first time
Captaining your country is one of the highest honours a footballer can receive, and doing it for the first time is a true milestone in any player’s career. Read also : First black footballer to play for England
In some cases, a player wearing the armband for the first time can be a historic event in its own right.
Paul Ince became England’s first black captain in 1993 when he led the Three Lions against the United States.Editors’ Picks
Playing in the United States Cup, England lost 2-0 in the absence of regular captains David Platt and Tony Adams, but it would prove to be their only defeat in Ince’s seven games as skipper.
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Ince was playing for Manchester United at the time, and had only made his senior international debut the year before.
At the time, he was uncomfortable with the spotlight – but Ince said he came to appreciate the significance of the occasion.
“For me it was the pinnacle of my career when Graham Taylor made me captain, but I can remember feeling uncomfortable with the questions,” Ince told the Daily Mail.
“I just wanted to be the England captain; I didn’t want to be remembered as the first black England captain because I didn’t look at it in that way.
“Then, after the game, I began to look at it in a different way because I had a lot of parents from the ghetto sending me letters telling me it had inspired their children to get jobs or to start playing football.
“I don’t know whether they were black, white or Asian or whatever, but it didn’t matter. That meant a lot, to think that somehow I had inspired people I had never even met.”
Mary Phillip became the first black player to captain England Women in 2003, while she was playing for Fulham.
Defender Phillip, who also represented Arsenal, Chelsea and Millwall, won 65 senior caps in an international career spanning 13 years.
“It was an amazing honour to be awarded that armband and lead England out on several occasions,” Phillip later told Sky Sports.
“I was the first female to have children and play, not just at club level, but also reaching international level.
“You don’t realise the significance of it, because you are just going out and doing your thing.”