Darren Gough: Why I would have handed the England armband to Liverpool's Jordan Henderson

AS always seems to happen, we do have these false hopes leading into any tournament that the England football team go into.

England manager Gareth Southgate (centre) talks to Jordan Henderson (left) and Harry Kane (right) in October last year. Picture: Mike Egerton/PA.

Let’s be honest, though, reality should have started to set in this week.

Firstly, there is the captaincy issue which involves Jordan Henderson, who led Liverpool out in the Champions League final in Kiev.

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He has been overlooked and, for me, what the decision to hand Harry Kane the England armband for the World Cup in Russia – even though he is not captain of his club – shows is that he is perhaps the only world-class player in our side and, realistically, the only definite starter in all the games.

Perhaps Kyle Walker is the only other player who could be classed in that bracket either on the right of a three-man defence or as right wing-back.

Thinking about it, you ask who is going to start in goal?

Then you look at Eric Dier, Henderson and Gary Cahill, who would be the three other contenders for the captaincy.

It looks as though they are not guaranteed a start, so they have had to give it to Kane.

England's Jordan Henderson.

I do not mind Kane being captain, but, personally, I do look at Henderson and also see him as a guaranteed starter and he would have been my captain. He has lots of experience and is captain of his club side who play brilliant football and is a big part of it.

He controls the pace and can sees all the game. For me, I would have liked Kane to concentrate on scoring all the goals. I think when Alan Shearer and Gary Lineker were captain they did not score quite as many goals.

Reality has also really set in for me when you look at some of the other squads selected for the World Cup and some of the players who have missed out on selection. They would walk into the England squad.

Look at France. Anthony Martial, Alexandre Lacazette and Karim Benzema are not in their squad and Dimitri Payet misses out through injury. There are also several more not included, such as Kingsley Coman and Aymeric Laporte.

England's Harry Kane speaks during a press conference at St George's Park, Burton, earlier this week. Picture: David Davies/PA

Then you move onto world champions Germany, who have not even included the man who scored the winning goal in Brazil four years ago in Mario Gotze.

The strength in depth at another one of the favourites, Spain, is also frightening when you just consider who they have left out. Alvaro Morata, Cesc Fabregas, Juan Mata, Ander Herrara and Javi Martinez will not be there, among others.

Alex Sandro is missing out for Brazil and the list goes on.

Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi, despite being the top-scorer in Serie A, has been dropped from Argentina’s World Cup squad.

Then, do not forget Radja Nainggolan, who misses out for Belgium.

You look at those omissions and you just say: ‘wow.’ All of those players I have mentioned would all get in England’s World Cup squad, no doubt.

So for me, the announcements of all the major countries’ squads have provided the biggest reality check in terms of where we are.

Given that, anything that we actually do in the World Cup is worthy of praise, really. It will be a bonus.

Here in this country, people are moaning that Jonjo Shelvey and Jack Wilshire are not in the England squad and Jake Livermore, too – and we say how great the Premier League is.

You look at England and then the likes of Spain and Germany who have not picked players of real quality.

So that is the difference what we are looking at and underlines where we realistically are at in world football.

People talk about all the best players being at the World Cups, but this year’s competition is notable for many leading omissions and what an XI you could have of players either omitted from their countries’ squads or being not involved.

Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak, rated by many as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, plays for Slovenia and he woill not be at the competition.

You could have Sandro, who plays for Juventus, at left-back and then Matteo Darmian at right-back – as he will not be involved with Italy – or his Manchester United colleague Antonio Valencia.

At centre-half, you could have the world’s most expensive defender in £75m Virgil van Dijk, with Holland having also not qualified for Russia. He could partner Giorgio Chiellini, of Juventus and Italy.

In midfield, there are lots of candidates. You could pick Nainggolan, Aaron Ramsey, Gareth Bale, Alexis Sanchez, Gotze among many others.

Then up front, there’s also an embarrassment of riches with the likes of Lacazette, Morata and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

You could easily pick a first-class team to represent a ‘Rest of the World XI’ in the World Cup.

People talk about wanting all the best players in the world playing at the World Cup and it would be intriguing if you could enter a ‘rest of the world’ team to feature in it.

Some top players play for countries who will probably never get there – just look at great players such as Ryan Giggs and George Best, who never played in a World Cup.

Including a ‘Rest of the World’ team is a great debating point for our readers.