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Ben Knight: Brennan should pass on the armband
January 29, 2010, 12:04 PM
Filed under: Jim Brennan, Toronto FC

Jim Brennan is a wonderful guy.

Friendly, approachable, clever, smiles a lot, cares hugely about what he does.

But as Toronto FC commences training camp for the 2010 MLS campaign, it is clear that Jimmy B should step down as the captain of the Reds.

Yes, he was the first player the franchise signed.  Yes, his experience – England, Canada, three seasons of fulltime play for TFC – dwarfs most, if not all, of his teammates’.

Age is one factor.  Although he had some great moments in 2009, the 33-year-old has slowed a bit – which was painfully clear at times, particularly at the back.

Versatility should work in his favour.  Even though he’s mostly been deployed at fullback, he was the only man on the team last season who could semi-reliably get a decent cross in from the left side.

But as the youth on the roster continues to develop – Attakora and Gomez at the back, Cronin and maybe Sanyang in the mid – competition for playing time will increase.  Brennan’s on-field minutes are very likely to decline.

Then there’s the ceaseless turmoil that gripped Toronto FC throughout 2009.  It’s more than reasonable, methinks, to question the effectiveness of a captain who failed to put a clear stamp on either the controversial ousting of popular striker Danny Dichio, or that humiliating 0-5 loss to the PopCans on Massacre Night at the Meadowlands ©.

When TFC began, Brennan was go-to experienced veteran.  Three years later, both Julian de Guzman and Dwayne de Rosario have clearer claims to that crown.  One of them should take the mantle now.

On the sidelines, there is little doubt that new coach Preki will not settle for the clammy, clinging inconsistency that murdered this team’s post-season chances a year ago.  But the players need one of their own to commit to leadership by example – and make it actually stick.

Brennan remains valuable, but is now a diminishing resource.  Let him pass the armband on, and concentrate on staying healthy, and making plays.

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