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England captain needs new image

Fabio Capello has a big decision to make in picking the next England captain.
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Nick Webster

Nick Webster has been the voice of the Barclays Premier League, FIFA World Cup's and UEFA European Championships in America since 2001. Insightful, provocative and entertaining, you'll always find him at the heartbeat of the action with stories that matter.
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It’s been another tumultuous week in English football...especially off the field.

Happier times: John Terry and England coach Fabio Capello. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Chelsea skipper John Terry has been removed as captain of the national team for the second time almost exactly two years to the date that he was stripped of the captaincy the first time.

So now the question is who will replace him however before I answer that question, we have to understand why he lost the position.

It was back on November 2 that Terry was alleged to have racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, who also happens to be the brother of the man Terry replaced as England captain - Rio Ferdinand.

POLL

  • Who should be the next England captain?
    • Gareth Barry
    • Ashley Cole
    • Steven Gerrard
    • Joe Hart
    • Frank Lampard
    • Scott Parker

After much hand wringing, the Football Association finally showed some stones and did the right thing by deciding that the charges brought by the Crown Prosecution Service against Terry warranted appropriate action.

With the court case against the Chelsea man scheduled for July 9, eight days after the final of Euro 2012, the FA decided that the media circus would not melt away and the distraction to the team would be nothing but a massive headache.

What gives me a headache is why Terry was given the captaincy in the first place. This man has more previous than Al Capone.

In September 2001 he was fined two weeks wages for hassling American tourists at Heathrow Airport. In January 2002, he was charged with assault and affray after a punch-up in a nightclub. In 2009, his club and the FA investigated him for giving tours for cash around his club’s training ground.

However, all that paled in comparison to the Vanessa Perroncel affair in 2010 which ultimately led to him being stripped of the England captaincy the first time.

This fall from grace has been a long time coming and is well overdue, but I am surprised that England coach Fabio Capello is trying to fight for his tarnished skipper. The Italian obviously has no idea about the importance of the England captaincy.

The lack of insight on Capello's part leaves me worried about who he'll choose next.

After a fantastic performance in front of the former skipper at Stamford Bridge Sunday, Wayne Rooney’s name has been thrown into the hat and many pundits are already signaling that the campaign to give him the armband will begin in earnest.

Now I’m a huge Rooney fan but in my opinion that would be a like-for-like substitution.

Poisoned chalice: Wayne Rooney's tarnished reputation makes him a bad choice for England captain (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

The Manchester United player has a long list of indiscretions that while not as impressive as Terry's certainly warrants a closer look.

The England striker has made himself tabloid fodder over the years with newspaper claims of inappropriate liasons.

Throw in the fact that he won't be available for Euro 2012 until the final group match versus Ukraine thanks to the red card he received against Montenegro and any talk of Wayne wearing the armband is madness.

That red card wasn’t his first for England either. He joined David Beckham as the only two players to be sent off twice playing for the Three Lions.

Can Capello really afford to have a captain that is liable to pick up yellow cards at will and occasionally see red when things are going his way? The answer is no.

I’m not saying you have to be squeaky clean to captain the national team but you should have a quality that you’d like to see in everybody, namely integrity.

Wayne, for all of his charitable works and his promise of better behavior, has failed in that department and until he can demonstrate a reformed image I don’t think I would want to entrust Rooney with the highest honor bestowed on a player in the English game.

So if it can’t be Rooney, who else moves into the picture?

England midfielders Gareth Barry and Scott Parker . (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

I’ve heard Steven Gerrard’s name but his reputation may still be tarnished despite being cleared of affray in 2009. Ashley Cole, the other senior member of the team feels like a Terry clone and has spent time in the tabloids for being less than a savory character.

Examining the current squad and the players that are likely to travel this summer, Gareth Barry of Manchester City or Scott Parker of Tottenham seem to be the only viable candidates.

They both have a touch of the goodie two shoes about them but I’d like the captain of my national team to project that type of image for a change!

The days of bad boys leading England must come to an end and never be repeated.

Nick Webster is a senior writer for FOXSoccer.com covering the Barclays Premier League and the English national team.

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