Europe must make Miguel Angel Jimenez Ryder Cup captain

Before Darren Clarke got the job, Miguel Angel Jimenez said he wanted to captain Europe at Hazeltine. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

If Miguel Angel Jimenez wants to be the next European Ryder Cup captain, he's the man the selection panel should go for.

There's no question that he would make a brilliant leader, and I think he'd be better in Paris in 2018 than in Wisconsin two years later because he is a little extroverted, and it's easier to be that way at home.

Jimenez has done everything you can except win majors in the European game. He has won 21 tour titles, is highly respected by his fellow players and is well-liked. He has to be the No. 1 candidate.

People have suggested that the 52-year-old Spaniard's English isn't good enough for him to do the job effectively, but I think language has been used as an excuse. Miguel's English has always seemed pretty good to me, and if he speaks a bit more slowly, everyone could understand him easily, so I don't see that as a problem.

The only question is whether he wants the job. He said he did before Darren Clarke was appointed for Hazeltine, but maybe Jimenez wants to concentrate on playing.

Beyond Jimenez, Lee Westwood and Thomas Bjorn would be good candidates, and Europe is lucky there are some great options.

Both men have the strength to survive home or away. Westwood is more qualified than Bjorn for the job because he has played in more Ryder Cups and been a dominant figure in the competition. He has a better career record too.

Westwood would have to decide that Hazeltine was his last Ryder Cup as a player, of course. I'm not writing off his chances of making the team again, but sometimes you get the feeling with players that they'd be happier captaining, taking a different role.

Either way, Westwood or Bjorn would be good, and apart from Padraig Harrington, who checks a lot of the boxes, I don't see anyone else in the picture. Ian Poulter might be considered, but I wouldn't be surprised if he wants another few years to try to make the team.

Westwood is 43 years old, and Bjorn is two years his senior. The job is pretty well-suited for someone in his mid-to-late 40s. Those two are still on tour, seeing the players all the time, and captaining wouldn't cost them a senior tour career.

That said, I'm sure quite a few people will be keen on the role because it's very rewarding. It's a different sort of challenge from what most have done before. It's a great honour to get the job, and you get a lot of pleasure from it. You have to do a bit of everything. You have to know what to say at the right time and how to treat the players.

Certainly, psychology plays a big part. It's not so much how you treat the players as how they perceive the way you treat them -- that they are getting a voice and being heard. You want the players to be comfortable during the week, and it's a rocky road if they are not. You need everyone, from caddies to wives to vice captains to players, to be happy, and it's your job to ensure that is the case.

Whoever is appointed -- we will probably know the choice early next year -- will have quite a hard act to follow.

Clarke was a losing captain, and if you lose, people always pick holes in your tactics. The captaincy is often simply seen as good if you win, bad if you lose. But Clarke kept the players very focused and working hard in the face of some pretty abusive fan behaviour. The European team looked as happy as they could in that situation.

Let's face it: It was a difficult Ryder Cup. The Americans had the stronger team, but Clarke kept the Europeans in the ballgame and got the draw right in the singles, even if it didn't work out. I think he did a good job.

Mark James was talking to Leo Spall.