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Just who will captain the Socceroos under new coach Ange Postecoglou remains a mystery. Guy Hand looks at the leading candidates

LUCAS NEILL

The incumbent. But the fact Postecoglou has made him no promises about the armband suggests he is far from a walk-up start to keep it. Neill is now 35 and has been struggling for form in recent games. The big question is whether he's even in the Socceroos' best XI. If not, Postecoglou won't be afraid to ditch him from the team, let alone the captaincy. If Postecoglou has any doubts whatsoever about his status in the team, Neill has led the Socceroos for the last time.

TIM CAHILL

The popular choice. Cahill is Socceroo No.1 in the eyes of most fans thanks to his storied record and knack for scoring goals in Australia's time of need. He has played at the highest level for club and country, and has this season co-captained his American side New York Red Bulls. There is no one more passionate about playing for the Socceroos. But at 33, you don't knock too many miles off the clock selecting him as captain. If it's about a long-term skipper to lead Australia to 2018, he's not the answer.

MARK BRESCIANO

Again, no future-proofing here with the gifted midfielder. But the 33-year-old has always been a critical component of the Socceroos, with big-match goals and big-stage performances. Also an intelligent, deep-thinking man who won plaudits for going on television after the 6-0 France drubbing, and speaking straight. You wouldn't die wondering if Bresh was made skipper.

MILE JEDINAK

Captains his English Premier League club Crystal Palace and has become a regular in a deep-lying midfield role for his country. Jedinak symbolises the modern Australian soccer player. He cut his teeth in the A-League, trekked to Turkey, then made it to England. His finest moment was helping Palace to the top flight with his wholehearted performances. Likely to be in Australia's best XI under the new coach. At 29, he's certainly young enough to lead the Socceroos all the way to the 2018 World Cup.

MARK MILLIGAN

Postecoglou promoted him to Melbourne Victory skipper, and called him the best player in the A-League just a few weeks before he took on the national team role. So he clearly rates his ability and leadership. At 28, Milligan is in the form of his life. He was pivotal in the three June World Cup qualifiers which won Australia a place in Brazil, and was being sought by England's Crystal Palace but the Victory wouldn't sell. Has been through three World Cup campaigns, two World Cup finals, and knows what the coach will want.

MATT McKAY

Has been a championship-winning captain at club level under Postecoglou. But is McKay currently in Australia's best XI? With plenty of midfield talent to choose from, he was shunted to left-back under Holger Osieck. That won't happen under Postecoglou, who will go with a specialist there. The result is McKay will have to fight for a midfield role, and may not get it. He's a proven captain, but now he doesn't skipper his club, having return from an ill-fated spell overseas. That, and his uncertain status in the Socceroos line-up, will count against him.  
 
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