Ryder Cup captain Harrington expects McIlroy to play in next year’s tournament

Pádraig Harrington

Pádraig Harrington

We analyse the main strengths of Thomas Bjorn's Ryder Cup captaincy after Europe appointed Padraig Harrington as their leader for 2020.

The 47-year-old Irishman has served as vice-captain for the past three Ryder Cups, most recently under Thomas Bjorn last year when Europe regained the trophy outside Paris.

Despite his anxieties, the Ryder Cup has adorned European trophy cabinets more often than American ones since the tournament was revamped in 1979.

He said: "I felt it was the right time for me to go for it".

"It does make my job easier that I feel I have the confidence of the players", Harrington added. "But it's not something that I take on without a certain amount of trepidation".

"He'll be very diligent, there's no doubt about that, very confident and hopefully continue this great run of success we're having in the European team".

Players must be a member of the European Tour to take part in the competition and, under regulations introduced in January 2017, "cannot be a European Ryder Cup captain or a vice-captain if they decline membership of the European Tour or fail to fulfil their minimum event obligation in any season, from 2018 onwards".

Harrington compiled a 9-13-3 Ryder Cup record as an individual, playing on six consecutive European squads between 1999-2010.

Eddie Jones thrown by figures showing England's high rate of training injuries
There had not been enough time to properly judge if the lower tackle height trial had reduced concussions in the Championship Cup. Concussion remained the most commonly reported injury in 2017-18 - with 140 in matches, down from 169 in 2016-17.

Harrington will remarkably become the third Irish-born European Captain in the past four Ryder Cup's after Paul McGinley captained the victorious 2014 European Team at Gleneagles and with Darren Clarke captaining hapless 2016 side that lost at Hazeltine.

"When you're a Ryder Cup captain, you're putting the history of your game - your legacy - on the line. When I talked to the other players and potential captains going forward, it seemed to fit nicely that I go and do the away match".

"You know when you're going up against a guy like that that he is mentally tough and strong".

"He has done three vice-captaincies and I think he's ready for this job".

"So yes, I think Steve will be a nice Ryder Cup captain".

Several key Europe players, including Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy and England's Justin Rose, had given Harrington public backing to lead the team in their title defence.

Pavard played in six of France's seven games at the World Cup finals, only missing their final group game against Denmark, and he scored his first global goal in the last-16 clash with Argentina.

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