WHEN John Terry was reinstated as England captain on 19 March 2011, everyone thought that it was last chance saloon for the Chelsea defender, many though thought he didn’t deserve to lead England again.
Terry was made England skipper by Steve McClaren when he was appointed England manager after the 2006 World Cup. After McClaren was sacked following England’s failure to qualify for the 2008 European Championship, Terry was retained as captain by the new England boss Fabio Capello.
But then in 2010, details of an extra marital affair with the partner of his team mate Wayne Bridge emerged. This led to Terry being stripped of the captaincy in what was described as a ruthless meeting with Capello. At the time many praised Capello for putting his foot down. The captaincy was handed over to Rio Ferdinand instead.
Ferdinand picked up an injury and found himself unable to play at the 2010 World Cup, so in stepped vice-captain Steven Gerrard. But watching the 2010 World Cup you’d have thought different. Gerrard had been described as “timid” prior to the tournament by Capello, and he stated that as a reason for overlooking the midfield man for the role of England skipper.
What transpired at the World Cup was a tepid England showing. But the biggest problem seemed off the pitch. Constantly there were anonymous stories being leaked to the press from certain members of the England camp about how Capello’s strict management style was upsetting the players. Then came the tipping point. John Terry took center stage, calling at a press conference before the final group game.
Assuming the role of captain he talked of how they needed freedom and how they needed to have it out behind closed doors and not be afraid to stand up to the boss, Capello. He had gone over not only the coaching staff’s heads but also the managers and the captain’s head. It was clear at that point that he may not be captain but he was still the big dog in the dressing room.
Although Gerrard didn’t air his grievances, he was said to have kept his own counsel, you can see him feeling undermined by Terry’s chicanery. It led to rumours of dressing room factions and added to the whole miserable spectacle, that was mercifully ended by the ruthless German team.
But herein lies the problem with John Terry being selected for the England team. He will still assume the role of de facto voice of the dressing room. There are very few people that actually have the pull to ensure that Terry stays in check. Capello’s backing shows that he won’t keep Terry in check. He’s gone as far as saying that he still views Terry as his captain. He told RAI: “I thought it fair that John Terry keeps the captain’s armband.”
The only player that springs to mind is Ferdinand, who has ruled himself out of the running as England captain. Gerrard leads more by example than by voice and other than that the options are thin on the ground. Wayne Rooney could do it, but is simply too volatile and undisciplined to wear the armband. Gareth Barry could be an outside bet but isn’t a driving force on the pitch or vocally. Scott Parker is another name floated around and that could be a good choice although once again with Terry in the dressing room you can see him being put out of the spotlight.
The most intriguing prospect for skipper though is Manchester City keeper Joe Hart. Now this makes logical sense, Hart can see the action in front of him and is in fine form. There are those that say keepers don’t make good captains but I don’t subscribe to this thought, just look at Iker Casillas for Spain. But once again it brings us to that problem of what to do with Terry. What is the likelihood of him undermining the captain again?
That’s why Capello has to drop Terry. He isn’t playing well and is far from the best centre-back at Capello’s disposal. Capello should drop Terry and unless he comes into form before the European Championships, must remain out of the England team. As for captain Gerrard should be handed the armband if he can prove his fitness and is in form over the next few months. If not then planning to the future and giving it to Joe Hart is a promising prospect.
Unfortunately, a man who was once seen as ruthless and principled, Capello has lost a lot of credibility and it is highly unlikely that he will drop Terry. Whoever he hands the captaincy to is going to know now that the manager doesn’t want them to lead England. One remedy the F.A could administer is maybe bidding Capello goodbye and replacing him with another manager. It’s worth a punt, it’s not as if England are going to win the European Championship.
It is thought that Capello may have breached his contract by airing his disagreement with the F.A over the handling of John Terry. Former FA executive director David Davies said: “My understanding – and I’ve talked to one or two very senior people at the FA in the last 24 hours – is that this matter with Capello is regarded very seriously,” he told BBC Radio 5 live.”He may well have breached his contract. There is a view that publicly this sort of matter shouldn’t be aired in this sort of way. It will be for others to know the fine print of Capello’s contract and I suspect people will look at it.”
How about having Stuart Pearce manage England through the Euros and if he does well then you have your permanent successor. One thing is clear, the England team needs an overhaul. Both in terms of playing staff and managerial staff. Out with the old, the Terry’s, Lampard’s, Gerrard’s and Ferdinand’s. It’s time to give players like Phil Jones, Martin Kelly, Danny Wellbeck, Gary Cahill and Joe Hart a chance to shine.
A lick of paint will no longer do. The golden generation has laid nothing but rotten eggs of late and at the peak of their powers were unable to provide anything other than omellet’s of disappointment. It is time for a revolution or a quick evolution if the F.A start laying the building blocks now.