World Cup

Capello should show common sense

BleacherReport Salomon Gonzales
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Speculation about the Chelsea captain's future in the England squad has intensified since he failed with a High Court injunction to stop newspapers reporting claims about an alleged affair with lingerie model Vanessa Perroncel, a former girlfriend of former teammate Wayne Bridge.

The FA recently confirmed the decision was up to Fabio Capello alone, with the FA backing him to make the best decision for England on "footballing grounds."

An FA spokesman said: "Fabio is fully up to speed with developments regarding John Terry. He spoke with our chairman Lord Triesman and chief executive Ian Watmore today, who both backed him to make the best decision for England on footballing grounds.

POLL

  • Should Capello strip John Terry of the England captaincy?
    • Yes, it's an issue within the team
    • No, personal life shouldn't matter


"Fabio is dealing with the matter in his own way using his extensive experience as a football manager."

The debate about his losing the England captaincy is a red herring. His position as captain is being questioned because he is likely to be "persona non grata" in the England dressing room for being "disloyal" to a team-mate.

Surely, however, if this were the case he would be persona non grata whether he was captain or not; being captain does not confer "droite de seigneur" status and thus, if his England team-mates are truly offended the only solution would surely be to drop Terry all together—five months before a World Cup and he being the best player in the world in his position.

But has this been suggested? Well, no, of course not. The true mission of the press is not mess with the nation's world cup preparations but to take reprisal for Terry trying to gag them.

England isn't exactly laden with captaincy alternatives, is it? Ferdinand? Pathological aversion to mandatory drugs tests. Rooney? Let's be serious now. Gerrard? Fresh from an affray allegation where, yes, he was acquitted. Beckham? Pre-dates Terry in the "upsetting the missus" stakes and is (If I remember correctly) the only England captain to ever be sent-off.

Is the press (or anyboby) really proposing that Terry be dumped for any from this bunch? Surely not!

Terry may have lost a good friend - he may have lost the respect of a few of his teammates, but there is a saying that goes something like this: Let he who be without sin, cast the first stone.

Even the Minister of Sport decided to dig his filthy claws into Terry.

“On the field John Terry is a fantastic player and a good England captain, but to be the captain of England you have got to have wider responsibilities for the country, and clearly if these allegations are proven — and at the moment they are only allegations — then it does call into question his role as England captain. I speak to the FA on a regular basis, so I will be asking what their viewpoint is and we will see what comes of it,”said Mr Sutcliff.

My question is what is Minister of Sports doing getting involved an issue that is clearly between Terry, Bridge and Capello.

I can only think of the fact that we are just three months from an election where the government is said to facing eviction—the government that was once guilty of choosing a "good day to hide bad news" of which, politically, there is plenty at the moment.

Back to Terry. Many believe the issue is not just as simple as Terry being a good player or captain for England. There are insidious psychological aspects that will be ominous undercurrents in the England squad if Terry and Bridge are to be in the same team.

Even if Bridge is not, but there will still be mates of his in the squad. What Capello is grappling with is the real threat that Terry's presence will fragment and destabilise the entire squad.

Even for a 63-year-old with vast managerial experience, this will be a new experience that will test him fully.

Salomon Gonzales is a senior writer for Bleacher Report, the open source sports network.

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