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Captain Chin: Is David Wheater the Trotters' new skipper?

Chris Brunskill

Following Kevin Davies' departure from the club, Bolton Wanderers find themselves without a Captain. Zat Knight has filled the role in match situations this season, as has Keith Andrews prior to his injury yet questions remain about who will take the armband on full-time when the season begins again. Well, an image from Instagram, coupled with what could be a case of reading way too much into it, may have revealed Bolton's next captain.

The image in question emerged on Instagram and, through the wonder of the screenshot button, has made the rounds on Twitter (if you want to see it, go search for it as we won't be linking it). The image shows David Wheater being, well, David Wheater and is accompanied by a caption that reads "next year's team #captain" and it may very well be a bit of back-and-forth between teammates or nothing more than a joke.

That said, it raises an interesting discusion about Bolton Wanderers' captaincy.

The initial reaction to the photo on Twitter was mixed but mostly positive. Many were fine with the potential move while others advocated for other candidates such as Medo Kamara or Jay Spearing (should Bolton try to sign him permanently).

David Wheater has been at Bolton Wanderers for two-and-a-half years and has a year remaining on his current Trotters contract. He has made 35 league appearances for Wanderers since arriving at the Reebok, after really breaking into the team following Gary Cahill's absences and eventual departure. Wheater would have been an integral part of the 2012/2013 season had it not been for the cruciate ligament he suffered a year ago yesterday in Bolton's 2-2 draw to West Bromwich Albion on the 2011/12 season's penultimate match day. The injury caused the big defender to miss the better part of 12 months and he was able to make only four appearances for Bolton in the Championship.

Before arriving at Bolton, David Wheater spent 6.5 years in Middlesbrough's senior side after having come up through Boro's academy (where he started in 1997). For the 2009/2010 season, Gareth Southgate handed Wheater the captain's armband but when Gordon Strachan arrived in October of that year, the leadership role moved to the more experienced Gary O'Neil.

In a September, 2009 interview with the Daily Mail, Wheater discussed just what the captaincy meant to him:

"When you stand there before the game, you think about your family and friends and what they must be thinking. It must be great for them, sitting there saying, 'He's my mate, him.' There's nothing better.

"I went home after the game and my neighbours were having a party down the street, never even really spoken to them before and as soon as I got out the car, they invited me down for a drink.

"I want to be captain now. I didn't think I would really care for it when people said it to me. I thought, 'It's just an armband, you'll play your normal game,' but when you have it on you feel 10 foot tall. You do feel like a leader. I guess if you don't feel that way it's not for you."

What do you think: Is David Wheater the right man to captain Bolton Wanderers or is there a better option?