Wayne Rooney believes Steven Gerrard should have been honoured with the England captaincy much earlier in his international career.
Gerrard is set to lead his country for the 32nd time in Friday night's World Cup qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley.
It puts him seventh in the all-time list of England captains, just two behind John Terry, who he played under for so long.
The 33-year-old will never get close to the record, jointly-held by Bobby Moore and Billy Wright, who each did the prestigious job on 90 occasions, or even David Beckham, named skipper 59 times.
Yet Rooney feels Gerrard's figure pays scant regard to his abilities as a leader, which he is convinced should have been recognised on a permanent basis far earlier than the weeks prior to Euro 2012, having previously worn the armband on a temporary basis only.
"Steven has been one of the best in the world over the last 15 years," said Rooney.
"We look to him to give us that drive.
"I think he got the captain's armband a bit later than he should have. He should have been named captain earlier.
"He has adapted his game a little bit.
"He is not going forward as much as he used to but he has certainly got the ability to sit a bit deeper and play passes out.