How Many Arsenal Players Have Captained England?

20023/24 has been quite the season for Declan Rice following his big-money move from West Ham United. Proving to be a pivotal figure in the heart of the Gunners engine room, his all-action displays have turbocharged Arsenal’s title charge. Playing the best football of his career at present, Tuesday 26 March, 2024 marked a momentous milestone for the 24-year-old as he captained England for the first time on what was his 50th appearance for the national side.

In slipping on the armband, Rice joined a pretty exclusive list of Arsenal players who have led England onto the field – no Gunner had enjoyed such an honour in almost 20 years. But how many Arsenal players have captained the national side in total? A trawl through the history books reveals that Rice has the following nine stars for company.

David Jack

David Jack
  • Captained England – 4 times between 1930 and 1932
  • England Appearances – 9
  • Arsenal Appearances – 208

The name of David Jack is likely unfamiliar to modern football fans, but the prolific inside forward of the late 1920s and early 1930s boasts several notable firsts to his name. The first player to fetch a fee of over £10,000, he was the first to score at Wembley Stadium, in addition to becoming the first Arsenal player to captain his country.

Eddie Hapgood

Eddie Hapgood
  • Captained England – 21 times between 1934 and 1939
  • England Appearances – 30
  • Arsenal Appearances – 440

Former milkman Hapgood brought elegance and steel to the Arsenal left-back position throughout the 1930s, picking up five league titles, two FA Cups, and four Charity Shields (as the Community Shield was then called). Something of a jack of all trades, Hapgood supplemented the income he earned as Arsenal and England captain with a spot of fashion modelling and a venture into advertising chocolate. Not sure we can see Rice flogging Easter eggs!

George Male

  • Captained England – Six times between 1936 and 1937
  • England Appearances – 19
  • Arsenal Appearances – 318

On the opposite flank to Hapgood during the 1930s golden era was the converted left half, George Male. Making his Arenal debut in a 7-1 win over Blackpool and final appearance in an 8-0 rout of Grimsby Town, Male certainly bookended his time at the club in style. Picking up four League titles, an FA Cup and three Charity Shields, he took up the Arsenal captaincy upon the departure of Hapgood.

Alan Ball

Alan Ball
Pyrope | Wikipedia
  • Captained England – 6 times in 1975
  • England Appearances – 72
  • Arsenal Appearances – 218

Given the consistently underwhelming displays of England at the World Cup and European Championship, it won’t come as the biggest surprise that Alan Ball is the only Arsenal player to have captained his country and picked up a major honour with the national side. Ball was with Blackpool when the youngest member of England’s 1966 World Cup-winning squad, but it was whilst at Arsenal that he first captained the side almost 10 years later.

Tony Adams

Tony Adams
Jade Moulds | Wikipedia
  • Captained England – 15 times between 1994 and 2000
  • England Appearances – 66
  • Arsenal Appearances – 672

A rarity in the modern era, Adams played for just one club throughout his career, with the no-nonsense defender racking up a massive 672 appearances for the Gunners. Remarkably consistent over the years, the leader of George Graham’s famously stingy defence lifted the league title in three different decades and also became the only player to play for England at a major tournament in three different decades. Adams boasted a decent strike rate for a centre-back and was the final England player to score at the Old Wembley Stadium in the year 2000.

David Platt

David Platt
Egghead06 | Wikipedia
  • Captained England – 19 times between 1993 and 1995
  • England Appearances – 62
  • Arsenal Appearances – 107

Platt had picked up most of his England caps before joining Arsenal in 1995 but still managed to captain the side on two further occasions in friendly fixtures against Croatia and Hungary. Winning the league and FA Cup double with Arsenal in 1997/98, Platt will be forever remembered by England fans for this incredible strike against Belgium at Italia 90.

David Seaman

David Seaman
Chistophe95 | Wikipedia
  • Captained England – Once in 1997
  • England Appearances – 75
  • Arsenal Appearances – 564

Regularly included in lists of the greatest Arsenal players of all time, Seaman provided a safe pair of hands for 13 seasons, picking up a dozen trophies during his time as the Gunners number 1. The standout English keeper of his generation, he lies behind only Peter Shilton amongst the most-capped Three Lions goalkeepers. Seaman’s solitary experience of the armband came in a 1997 World Cup qualifier against Moldova.

Martin Keown

Martin Keown
Ronnie Macdonald | Flickr
  • Captained England – Once in 2000
  • England Appearances – 43
  • Arsenal Appearances – 449

With Seaman in goal and a centre-back pairing of Tony Adams and Martin Keown, it is little wonder Arsenal’s defences proved so impenetrable for much of the 1990s and early 2000s. In common with his teammates, Martin Keown’s efforts were recognised by the national side, with the famously combative defender proudly wearing the armband in a World Cup Qualifier against Finland.

Sol Campbell

Sol Campbell
Stefan Schäfer, Lich | Wikipedia
  • Captained England – 3 times between 1998 and 2005
  • England Appearances – 73
  • Arsenal Appearances – 197

When captaining England for the first time in 1998, Campbell became the youngest player to wear the armband since the great Bobby Moore. The classy centre half plied his trade for arch-rivals Spurs at that time, before his controversial transfer in 2001 – the fact that he went on to win five more trophies in five seasons at Arsenal than he did over nine years at Tottenham doing little to endear him to the Spurs faithful. Campbell only captained England once as an Arsenal player, in a 2005 friendly success over the USA.