Former Arsenal defender Sol Campbell believes he would have "been England captain for more than 10 years" had he been white.
The 39-year-old, who played 73 times for his country, claims the Football Association and the majority of fans do not want a black England captain.
Campbell, who three times captained England in friendly matches, also labelled the appointment of Michael Owen as skipper ahead of him as "embarrassing".
In a new authorised biography serialised in the Sunday Times, Campbell said: "I believe if I was white, I would have been England captain for more than 10 years - it's as simple as that.
"I think the FA wished I was white. I had the credibility, performance-wise to be captain.
"I was consistently in the heart of the defence and I was a club captain early in my career.
"I don't think it will change because they don't want it to and probably the majority of fans don't want it either.
"It's alright to have black captains and mixed race in the under-18s and under-21s but not for the full national side. There is a ceiling and although no one has ever said it, I believe it's made of glass."
On the appointment of Owen, who wore the armband on eight occasions, he added: "I think the FA didn't want me to have a voice. Owen was a fantastic forward but nowhere near being a captain.
"It was embarrassing.
"I've asked myself many times why I wasn't. I keep coming up with the same answer. It was the colour of my skin."