R17 Being a good leader and Captain is not about being the most decorated (Kane), most prodigious (Jude), the most popular (Grealish) or the most PR-friendly and beloved player (Saka)--actually, it usually means being the grittier, less flashy and friendly and successful person, the hardest worker against odds or in spite of lack of talent, a more stoical persevering 'get the job done' type who inspires confidence (the type to stand up to Roy Keane...Hendo's the only man who's ever done that). There's a difference between the best star striker and the Skipper, the role calls for completely different qualities and strengths, and it's very rare for someone to be capable of both. It's like automatically making the top seller or employee on the floor or front-of-house at a company the manager by default, it doesn't usually work and isn't a good idea.
Kane, bless him and with all due respect for his accomplishments, can't do both well, or even at all. Harry for all his scary talent with a ball at his feet is an introverted, self-centred Idol sort of personality (probably why Southgate is in love with him), he hasn't got the doggedness or self-sacrificial nature or ferocity of character to lead men. Jordan has. It speaks volumes that Harry's not ever even been the Captain of any of his clubs, despite being the best player and a popular valuable player at all of them, while Hendo has been the Captain of his club since 2015, and before that held the England U21 captaincy for years and even took the band a few times at Sunderland (his hometown boyhood club) with the complete backing of every other player. That's a decade of experience as a Skip. The entire passel of other Prem Captains all voluntarily call Hendo *their* Captain, even though he's their rival in the League. He's not just a Captain, he's THE Captain, the most qualified and authoritative we have in the pool of active England players. He cares so much about his teams and about their success as a collective, not just racking up goals for himself like Kane. He's like a really strict but doting father.
Watching the boys on the SGP training pitch; they all treat Harry like their golden player and respect him, naturally, but they snap to attention and don't dare talk back when Hendo gives them an instruction. He has this particular flinty Alpha death stare that's practically a meme. Jordan has more than just the admiration or respect of the lads, he has deference and obedience from them out of love and fear for him (like his predecessors in Terry, Keane and Gerrard did). It's crucial to have this person around when you're dealing with two dozen vapid ADD horny and naughty young lads all overly excited to get their caps and show off on a big stage; you need that person to slap them into line and stop them messing about so they can focus on their jobs and work hard with some humility. It's often said that Kane 'leads by example', but as far as I've seen (and I've seen a lot of England content), Hendo trains harder and longer than Harry by a long shot.
And that's why it's such a fucking crying shame and so unfair that Hendo's been denied his natural role by Southfake all these years, running down his clock so he can't lead in his prime (and let's not get into the way Hendo lost the armband, days before LFC's UCL final..depression-inducing). Kane's only a few years younger than Hendo and even more injury-prone, so that's no good excuse. If I were Jordan, I'd retire or quit in protest, or just refuse to turn up and try like Hendo's protégé Trent does when he can get away with it. But of course Hendo would never do that, because he's not like me, he's a real leader with the right qualities who won't abandon his lads or derelict his duty/honour like that.