Jordan Spence has been talismanic since being handed the England captain’s armband at U16 level two years ago.
The West Ham defender led the Young Lions to the Victory Shield before skippering the U17s to the European Championship Final 12 months later. In August he captained England at their first U17 World Cup in South Korea.
Spence’s hero is another who wears the armband with pride and he hopes to emulate him in the years to come. “John Terry is my hero. You would say he’s the perfect modern centre-half – good on the ball, reads the game well, and strong in the air. As a role model I don’t think there is anyone better than him.
“As a fellow defender, I wish I could take some of his aerial ability. He also scores goals and his leadership qualities stand out too.
“When you don’t see him playing in a side you can tell he isn’t there. That’s the best sign of a player – you notice when they’re not there. When JT plays, his record speaks for itself.
“A couple of years ago when Chelsea came to play at Upton Park, I was a ball boy so I had the chance to watch him up close and I could certainly see the presence he had. He had an aura about him.
“Being skipper of the full England side is something I aspire to, so there is no better player than him.”