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Capello springs surprise with Terry choice

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Phil McNulty | 14:07 UK time, Tuesday, 19 August 2008

England coach Fabio Capello may cut a figure of stone-faced Italian solidity - but is showing a knack for springing surprises and his choice of John Terry as captain is another.

Gone are the days when teams and captains could be predicted with confidence, and as all the signs appeared to point to Rio Ferdinand gaining the armband on a permanent basis, Terry arrived stage left to keep his job.

I might as well say it for one last time before putting my soap box away. My choice would have been Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.

It would have been fascinating to see how this supreme footballer and heartbeat of Liverpool would have reacted to the responsibility, but Terry is Capello's pick after a series of public auditions.

I was among those who felt that Ferdinand would be the man to lead England into their 2010 World Cup campaign, despite a strong personal preference for Gerrard.

I watched Ferdinand when he was preparing for England's friendly in France in March, and he did a passable impersonation of the captain-in-waiting with an almost statesman-like pre-match media briefing.


He has matured as a player and person, and his role in Manchester United winning the Premier League and the Champions League only added lustre to his reputation.

Terry on the other hand, had suffered from injuries at crucial times and was very much seen as Steve McClaren's man, an impression not helped by those awful sycophantic and awe-struck references to "JT" from the coach.

He was seen to be fighting a real battle to re-establish himself as captain, especially after being hit with heavy personal criticism for Chelsea's hounding of referee Mike Riley in the 4-4 draw at Spurs in March.

Since then he has suffered the biggest disappointment of his career, slipping and missing a penalty that would have given Chelsea the Champions League in Moscow in May.

Capello, intriguingly, was quick to publicly support Terry's leadership credentials after that miss - and they have not proved mere words of comfort, he has followed them with actions.

Terry has since demonstrated his determination to overcome that trauma and his iconic status at Chelsea is unharmed. He has learned from those dark moments in places such as White Hart Lane and Moscow and is now ready for a new beginning.

He is as close as it gets to an automatic choice, enjoys a good relationship with the man who will now be his vice-captain so there will be no friction, and goes into the new season with hopes that his injury problems are behind him.

The next step on that road to rehabilitation will come with his re-appointment as England captain, a decision which will undoubtedly be questioned by Ferdinand's many admirers.

But Terry has told us on many occasions since Moscow that he is "a big man" and now he gets another chance to prove this on the World Cup qualifying stage.

Capello has seemed mystified by the importance placed on the captaincy of the national team in England.

It is understandable given that not much would have been gained or lost by the appointment of Terry, Ferdinand or Gerrard. Any of those three would have been perfectly acceptable as captain.

England captains past and present have different views on the matter. I spoke to Terry Butcher and he was an advocate of Ferdinand, despite seeing so much of his own Lionheart approach in Terry.

Peter Shilton was in the Terry camp, as was Tony Adams, a defender who will not be offended by the assertion that he was more Terry than Ferdinand.

For my part, Terry is a sound choice and will provide a contrasting type of captaincy to that Ferdinand would have offered. Ferdinand would also have been a good choice - and I will not mention Gerrard again.

Terry is very much a leader from the front, whereas Ferdinand would have been more of a captain by example, although this should not detract from the Chelsea man's status as an outstanding defender.

He will also be driven by his recent disappointments, not just Chelsea's defeat on penalties in Russia but also as the captain (albeit an injured one for vital games) who was one of those unable to see England safely through the qualifying campaign to Euro 2008.

England have a huge opportunity to ensure they do not repeat the mistakes of the McClaren era and reach South Africa in two years.

Terry will not want another scar on his CV - and it may have been factors like this that steered Capello away from Ferdinand and towards his defensive partner.


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  • Comment number 1.

    I don't think Terry was the best choice for the captaincy. Before selecting his captain, Capello himself said the he not only wanted a good leader and a good player to take the armband, but someone who was a role model to others in the game and England fans. Terry's aggressive behaviour towards referees, in my opinion, doesn't make him the best role model available to Capello. In fact, one of the better candidates may have been one of the lower profile players, such as Barry (I'm not even a Villa fan).

    If the FA is going to persist with it's respect towards referees campaign it has to lead from the front, and the selection of Terry as captain goes against that. I'm a fan of Terry's ability and leadership skills, but I don't agree with his behaviour towards referee's, and anyone who says that he's only done it once or twice doesn't pay enough attention to football.

  • Comment number 2.

    Steven Gerrard would have been a better option because on and off the field he always acts professionally and is hardly ever in the news for causing trouble, whereas Terry and Rio are not good role models to younger kids in comparisson with Gerrard,

    JT is maybe the worst culprit of chasing after and shouting at referees

    Rio in his leeds days was in trouble a few times and 'missed' a drugs test only a few years ago.

    Gerrard would have been the better option because of the flaws in the other two.

  • Comment number 3.

    My preferred choice of Gerrard was not based on the pasts of Ferdinand or Terry.

    I believe if Capello had told Gerrard that he was his man, the one he wanted to lead England to Euro 2010, I believe we would have seen him thrive on that responsibility and finally produce consistent world-class form for England.

    There is a real debate to ensue over this captaincy issue.

    I am sure Chelsea and Man Utd fans in particular have strong opinions, so let's hear all of them.

  • Comment number 4.

    On the pitch Terry is perhaps a good motivator and an understandable choice even if his behaviour towards referees is apalling (just send him off next time ref please!) - I too would far rather see Gerrard.

    Aside from the role on the pitch the England captain is an ambassador for the country and in this role Terry is beyond awful and am man to make Englishmen ashamed. Any other member of the squad except Ashley Cole would have been preferable.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm not convinced by any of the candidates, to be honest, even though I'm a Liverpool fan and know what Gerrard has done for us.
    But he's never quite put in the dominating performance for England and he's a fairly quiet guy - and England probably needs a bit of a shouter.

    Terry, on the other hand, represents both the best and worst of English football. He is abrasive and bad tempered and has messed up from the penalty spot at the big moment; on the other hand, he wears his heart on his sleeve and is passionate and I think truly cares about playing for his country.

    Rio? A bit anonymous as a leader, not even vice-captain at his club.

    Beckham would still be the best choice - if he were a few years younger and playing in Europe.

  • Comment number 6.

    It seems to me that Terry has got this ahead of Rio on the basis that being Captain raises Terry's game whereas Rio plays to the same high(er) standard regardless. I don't think Capello worries too much about the whole 'pride of the armband' type gubbins, he just sees an opportunity to get one of his key players playing better.

    As for giving it to Gerrard to see if he thrives on the responsibility, why not see if he can manage a decent game for England on his own before adding to the Saint Steven of Merseyside myth.

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm a Man U fan and my pick was definitely Gerrard. I have never seen a more passionate captain in my life and the picture of him running out unto the pitch for the second half against AC Milan down 3 - 0 and shouting "C'mon" and waving the crowd into a frenzy in the CL final will stay with me forever; he then followed that up with a goal. Captain magnificent is what he is!!!

  • Comment number 8.

    John Terry will now partner Rio everytime they are both fit. If Rio had been selected as skipper, you couldn't guarantee the same would happen. Just because someone has a big personality (read big mouth "I'm a big man") it doesn't automatically make you a good player.

    Rio's ability and recent England form has given him his place. The armband has given Terry his.

  • Comment number 9.

    As a complete neutral, it should have been Steven Gerrard.

    Ferdinand and Terry are overpaid and unprofessional people who unfortunately have a god given talent to play football.

    Terry will make a point of sprinting half a pitch to give referees constant abuse and let's face it, he's pretty boring as a person, I can't imagine anyone truly respects him in the same way we respect sportsmen like Martin Johnson, Stuart Pearce, KP etc.

    And Rio?! hahaha don't make me laugh. Does no one remember the furore over the MUFC xmas party he organised, or his godawful television programme. Only the stupidest of people would respect him.

    Steven G is the best of the bunch. I hope all the England squad are keeping an eye on the olympics, but sadly I can't imagine any of our current players having the confidence and sheer single mindedness to prove themselves the best in the world like our cyclists have. They just think they're the best in the world, and that's why we'll win nothing under Terry.

  • Comment number 10.

    Gerrard Would of been better as he is a better role model for the team, and somebody who can motivate them better.

    Liverpool Without Gerrard would be an average team., with him well you know what happens.

    Is Gerrard Vice Captain, Or has that been handed over to Rio?

  • Comment number 11.

    Is Terry even guaranteed his place?

    Ferdinand is surely considered the outstanding defender in Europe right now, whereas the likes of King and Woodgate are strong contenders to Terry's starting position.

  • Comment number 12.

    Agree with hightheif about all the candidates. Ferdinand would have struggled to be my vice captain behind Gerrard and Terry, who both play as if they going to win, the problem is it has never rubbed off on their team mates.

    Gerrard may not have been picked to relieve the pressure on him on the pitch perhaps? allow him to play his own game without have to run the team?

    Terry says he has grown and matured since his disapointments of last season, pledged to cut out his surrounding of the referee and get on with the football, so why not give him the chance rather than saying an automatic no?

    And yes, Beckham would have still been best choice, but he is now really too old and not playing at a high standard of football anymore

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    It doesn't matter who Cappello makes captain as he'll be gone in 3 years and the whole merry-go-round will start again anyway.

    Prepare for another lacklustre performance against the Czech Republic followed by a dismal qualifying campaign. Or maybe not...I almost forgot, Heskey has been recalled so prepare for mouthwatering skill and goals gallore!

    Still, as long as the 'Becks, Lamps, JT, Stevie G and Rio' show carries on it's relentlessly dull path to failure, the FA will be happy and nothing will be done to actually improve English footballers.

    Joy to you all and here's hoping I'm proved completely and utterly wrong!

  • Comment number 15.

    Re highthief:

    "Beckham would still be the best choice - if he were a few years younger and playing in Europe."

    Bobby Moore would still be the best choice - if he were a few years younger and still alive.

  • Comment number 16.

    For me Capello has just made an awful move. Surely in light of certain events, champions league and losing the title so close, Rio's motivation would be on a high whilst JT's would be rock bottom.

    Saying that i would of still given Gerrard the armband. When you need a big player in a big game, Gerrard has to be the best in the world. He's shown it time and time again at Liverpool, when they need a goal or a magic spark, its Gerrard. Surely he has the right credentials and being the captain of England could only boost his morale and ensure that England play as a unit, just as Gerrard has got Liverpool playing.

    Capello most of chosen JT because he was the captain with McClaren, but now hes got dodgey dutch accent so clearly changes need to made from his terrible reign. The best way to that would of clearly been to make Stevie G the England Captain.

  • Comment number 17.

    Good article Phil, despite the criticisms you'll undoubtedly receive for mentioning Gerrards name, you're absolutely spot on.

    He's not a shouter, but then should an international team like England need one, shouldn't they have a team of captains?

    What I think England need is a leader in the football sense, someone who could get a game by the scruff of it's neck and lead by example. I think Gerrard is one who actually thrives on responsibility, and making him captain would have improved his England game by 20%.

    An opportunity missed, but hey, what do I know??

    Again, good article!

  • Comment number 18.

    For me the problem is that based on recent performances, not many players are guaranteed a starting place - and that needs to be the first step.

    Speaking as a neutral, I'd go with Gerrard but like the first post I'd also wouldn't mind seeing Barry as captain - but going back to my first point, he's probably not guaranteed a place in the line-up for every game.

    As for Terry - hardly a role model, and based on his past behaviour both on and off the pitch I'm somewhat embarrassed to see him get the job.

  • Comment number 19.

    'For my part, Terry is a sound choice and will provide a contrasting type of captaincy to that Ferdinand would have offered... Terry is very much a leader from the front, whereas Ferdinand would have been more of a captain by example, although this should not detract from the Chelsea man's status as an outstanding defender.'

    If this is the crux of your argument about why this decision is good, can you explain exactly what the above is supposed to mean?...

    If you are going to make a contrast, make it clear and understandable perhaps?
    Terry is a leader...
    Ferdinand a good example of a captain...
    Terry is still a good defender though...

    Baffling... Do you re-read what you write?

  • Comment number 20.

    If you always do what you've always done you always get what you always got. Terry has led us to failure already, it was time for a change, we will regret this.

  • Comment number 21.

    I’ll declare my allegiances from the start; I’m a Manchester United fan through and through.

    Personally, I don’t think Ferdinand should be too disheartened at being overlooked for the role of England captain. The fact that he was even considered for the role, indeed was favourite for it in many people’s eyes is a remarkable turnaround from the dark days of the ban following the missed drugs test and he should take great credit that he has matured as a player and developed as a leader since then as much as he has. His time will come, I’m sure.

    One thing you can’t deny about John Terry is his total commitment to the cause and if that rubs off on the rest of the England team so that you know everyone of them will give everything they’ve got whenever they pull on the shirt, then I for one have no objections to him being captain.

    It is hard not to feel sorry for Gerrard though. Overlooked again for a job in which he excels at his club and all because it seems that yet another England manager is unsure where he’s going to play him.

  • Comment number 22.

    It seems Terry's "unlucky" injuries heal the moment after the England game. The next weekend he is back playing for Chelsea.

  • Comment number 23.

    The more things change... What a horrible choice. John Terry has embarrased himself with his handling of referees as well as proven he can't handle pressure by blowing the CL Final.

    Capello just damned us to more disappointment in years to come. Rio and Stevie have won Euro Cups. That's where I would have gone. One of the two. Terry was a great player, but sometimes your actions can undermine your talent. He's been an embarrasment for years with his hounding of officials. Now he'll get to show himself on the grandest of World stages.

    Why can't we ever do anything right England? I'm going to be sick.

  • Comment number 24.

    The last time Terry was captain, was the last time England failed to qualify for a major championships!

    Its wasn't just McClaren's fault you know!

    My personal choice would have been Ferdinand, and Gerrard second.

  • Comment number 25.

    I'm very sorry Phil, once again I can only disagree with your opinion on Gerrard for captain...There simply is no way that Gerrard could be considered over the heads of Ferdinand or Terry...The facts are preety plain for all to see...For me the clincher in this one is the fact that Gerrard's international form has been far too patchy at best...I mean this guy is a world class midfielder for Liverpool, a real box-to-box "player" able to defend and attack anywhere on the pitch but the truth of the matter is that his international career at times has been stop-start, stop-start for years...He simply does not seem to 'show up' at times, especially in massive games where England really need him...For me Gerrard is a clear indication of what has plagued England players for the past few years...too much glamour, money, glitz, not enough substance, dedication, passion, commitment...It is an absolute travesty that their girlfriends, so called WAGS, have become celebrities at the expense of the England football team...Personally I think they should be banned from matches...and Gerrard's wife is unfortunately one of the ringleaders of this nonsense...Stevie G at the end of the day is world-class, but simply not focused enough on his international football to be captain for me...If Capello had appointed him, we would have been witness to another series of sub-par performances that would have cost England dearly, make no mistake England have got to qualify for this World Cup, no space for mistakes or faffing about and I think denying Gerrard the captaincy may go some way to making it clear to him that as an England player he simply HAS TO bring his A-game every time he dons that precious white shirt...We may even see him produce more for England then he ever has before...


  • Comment number 26.

    I have no preference in any direction. The importance of the England captain has been significantly overplayed in the media and, as anyone who has played football will tell you, in order to be successful you need leadership all over the pitch, not focussed on one player.

    Having said that, the greatest shot in the arm the FA's Respect campaign could get would be a reformed John Terry leading England in a professional manner and behaving the right way towards referees. Time will tell whether he can (or wants to) do that.

    Oh, and Phil ... doesn't it say something very important about Steven Gerrard if you believe that he can onlyproduce his best play for England if he is given the responsibility of the captaincy.

    How about taking responsibility for providing leadership in midfield and turning that (mostly) dysfunctional unit into something on which England can build its performances?

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    John Terry had his chance to lead England, as a total neutral on the England front, i feel that the Euro 08 debarcle was not only Maclarens fault, Terry obviously didnt do the job, Ferdinand, Gerrard and Beckham are all quite old and 2010 could well be their last major tournament, my choice would have been a young gun, prehaps Rooney or even Richards, young but this in turn would develop a true leader

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    Completely agree with dcacooper.

    The captaincy isn't going to make a world of difference, and if this degenerates into squabbling between players, it'll be a pretty good testament as to why England keeps disappointing on the world stage.

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    Am I alone - or does anyone else feel that Capello is unfortunately just a different flavour of Maclaren?

    I for one am tired of the "compromise" appointment that goes with the "didn't we do well going out on penalties in the semi-final" attitude.

    I would like to be pleasantly surprised - but I will predict that we will qualify (just) for the finals and then progress to the quarter-final, get a tough draw (aren't they all at that point!!!) and then (unluckily?) depart the competition.

    We need winners - not good players or role models or nice people. I don't advocate winning at all cost - but I think that we could prioritise winning a little higher.

    My pick for captain would have been Rooney - but then my pick for Manager would have been Ferguson - however much it cost!

  • Comment number 33.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 34.


    How are these people touting Rooney as an alternative? If Terry is a 'thug' the Rooney is a psycho!!

    Captaincy aside, we are still very mediocre as a national team and I think Capello has his work cut out.

  • Comment number 35.

    Southern bias.

  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 37.

    It's a disgrace. He shouldn't even be playing for England.

  • Comment number 38.

    i cant believe you get paid to write this.

  • Comment number 39.

    Perhaps we should consider a non-playing captain? Seems to work well in golf!

    Agree with hankshanklin - we are mediocre as a team even though we seem to have a great collection of individuals. Perhaps the Manager will finally realise that your best 11 players don't necessarily make your best team.

  • Comment number 40.

    The Pilchard, I totally agree with you about this lot being just like the McLaren era, in fact I wouldn't be surprised to see Capello sheltering under an umbrella tomorrow night.

    As for Terry being captain, great start for the FA's respect campaign, appointing the worst player in the league with regards respect for referees.

  • Comment number 41.

    Sir Alex would not be England manager EVER...And as for the rest of you who think Gerrard should be captain...Respectfully you guys have got to be deluded...England will play some fantastic stuff under Capello as long as you guys keep the faith a bit and don't get on the usual bandwagon of slagging England off at every opportunity...To think, if we the fans and the media actually took some time to SUPPORT England as opposed of getting the knives out all the time, this team of talented footballers may actually thrive on the support and actually produce something.

  • Comment number 42.

    Of course Terry is a leader from the front. WHERE WAS THIS PRAT WHEN WE WERE FAILING TO QUALIFY FOR EURO 2004? I hate this. He is the worst England captain of my generation- well done cappello another sign of your Sven-like incompetence.

  • Comment number 43.

    Strange choice that a failure is rewarded with the captain's arm band.

    Oh well look like another failure to qualify is on the horizon!

  • Comment number 44.

    It was a difficult choice for Capello in that both JT and RF have yobbish attitudes. It is all very nice when one is winning; a true captain shows his class when he retains his dignity and that of his team while losing. Their respect for match officials is very non-exemplary. Take RF's behaviour when ManU lost to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the incident with the unfortunate lady. That is not the first time when RF has shown disrespect for others when under pressure. Those are the type of incidents that show the true lack of character of players like RF. JT's past is also laced with acts of aggression off the field. Of course, it all goes back to the managers at the time. Sometimes managers need to be critical in their public statements. So for me, it is a question of returning to the basics; respect of the officials and your fellow players. If this attribute is followed, we will have captains that our youth can look up to and captains that the whole nation can be proud of.

  • Comment number 45.

    Comment 38...I agree 100%...PEOPLE, READ THIS COMMENT!!!

  • Comment number 46.

    I believe Terry is the obvious choice, he is passionate, vocal, tackles hard, scores goals,
    and commands the respect of his fellow players. United are obsessed with being the main focus of English football and this along with Scolaris appointment has taken some of the wind out of their sails. Terry held Chelsea together last season and he is more than just a player. Rio is god but take Vidic out of his life and he is a lot more vulnerable than Terry and the latter is far better in the air. Capello has made a balanced and wise decision, Liverpool and United fans are bitter but wahat do you expect. They believe they should dominate all aspects of English football, The times they are a changing. Real
    men accept a final decision and get behind their country.

  • Comment number 47.

    Terry is very similar to Roy Keane in his attitude to the game and leadership. If it works, it works!!

  • Comment number 48.

    AS IF SVEN WAS INCOMPETENT...What are you talking about...Sven produced automatic qualification for England at every major tournament guaranteed, and their performances, while not fantastic, were always solid enough to progress to at least the quarterfinals in each tournament...You try and manage England and see how long it will take for you to get the sack...I can't believe the cheek of some of you armchair tactictians, Capello has more managerial talent in one fingernail than you would in 10 lifetimes...Just face the reality.

  • Comment number 49.

    He is obviously just in it for the money. Earn a few million before retiring from football altogether. England wont win anything under him. Nothing has changed. The selections are still crap. Its incredible that people like Young never get picked. He is such a good player.

    The FA have the few players they like and no one else gets a chance of getting into the team then they whine about the lack of talent around.

    you will all see when John Terry screws up what a bad captain he is.

  • Comment number 50.

    Just days into the FA's respect campaign and Capello appoints Terry as captain, a player who shows little respect for referees and has a poor reputation for his off field antics as well.

    I don't believe Terry has earned the respect of England fans, so Capello's choice of captain wont inspire fans on match days.

    Gerrard should be captain.

  • Comment number 51.

    LondonsFinestClub " (Terry) commands the respect of his fellow players" - You live in your own little world...he may do at Chelsea...but not amongst players from all over the country.

  • Comment number 52.

    I'm disappointed. I disagree that this was a surprise, on the contrary it is all too predictable. Tried and tested as a mediocre captain with generally average performances for England and not much better for Chelsea for that matter, other than one season a couple of years ago.

    I really hoped Capello was his own man - clearly not. Terry is a poor example for discipline on the pitch with his behavior to referees and he allows his team mates to behave unacceptably. As a player when the chips are down so is his head. I have no idea what personality he thinks Terry has got. Maybe he can't understand Gerrards scouse accent but he, Ferdinand and Barry are all clearly better choices. I fear for Englands future under Capello.

  • Comment number 53.

    I heard John Terry's acceptance broadcast earlier saying how much it meant to him to be selected amongst this group of talented players that had achieved so much in the last 2 years! ..... an England captain that had a basic grasp of reality might have been more appropriate but I suppose that we'll continue on living in La La land where the backbone of our national team is automatically selected based on Celebrity rather than FORM or appropriate talent. What an accurate reflection of modern society that our first name on the team sheet, LEGENDARY, Hello front cover, centre forward doesn't score goals! ... even against the weakest of oppo. Rooney has underachieved for England for 4 years and is still automatic choice yet any other England striker gets 3 games before he's binned. The real problem with England, is an inability of the last 3 managers to be able to stand strong against the dumbed-down, Jordan novel buying general public and the press and drop celebrity players who don't perform. Otherwise the situation of England taking to the field with up to half the team not picked with any relation to form (Rooney, Beckham, Lampard, Gerrard, Terry, Ferdinand... these players have absolutely no competition for places in the team and it's not because they are that good ... look at there record!!!!!) will continue.... the reason why the Australians annoyingly punch above their weight in more or less any sport you care to mention is because they recognise and pick in form players and drop those that aren't performing no matter how BIG a name they think they are. So my view about a long term captain is that more long term appointments in the England team is something that we could definitely do without. The pressure of performance or being discarded is what works in the Premiership and it is what should be applied to ALL the England team and management.

  • Comment number 54.

    Crying shame, really. When Capello came over from Italy he had a reputation for taking no nonsense from players. This was the ideal opportunity for him to shame Terry by publicly by announcing that his past on-field behaviour precluded him from from wearing the Captain's armband. To do so would send out a loud message about the importance of discipline and good conduct to every level of English football, from the prefessionals at the top, to children playing in the park. He could have genuinely made a positive difference to the game.

    Instead, he has effectively joined hands with, and kissed the boots of, every lout who cannot or will not play football by the rules. He has lost my respect forever.

  • Comment number 55.

    Personally I would have chose Gerrard because of his qualities that he shows at Liverpool.

    He is a good influence on the young. He is determined, driven, and is good at getting teams back into the game. Shown notably in Istanbul in 2005 and the FA Cup vs West Ham in 2006.

    Where Terry and Ferdinand seldom play up front and can only see from the net. Gerrard is in the middle and has an all round view of the action.

    Beckham would've never gotton the armband as he is 33 and by the next World Cup he will be the OAP of international football.

    I reckon Cappello has made a huge gamble on here and personally I would love to see if it will not pay off.

  • Comment number 56.

    Londons Finest Club? So why would an Arsnal fan be intersted in this? They don't play Englishmen do they? Oh but you surely can't be talking about chelsea LOL

  • Comment number 57.

    RE: Georgeousgaz.

    Gerrard being useless, you must be joking atleast.

    Lampard yes, Rooney yes, Ashley Cole yes, Terry or Ferdinand maybe, but Gerrard never.

    In most of the games in which England was loosing Gerrard scored a goal, where was Lampard when you needed him?

    Play Barry with Gerrard and Heskey alongside Owen.

  • Comment number 58.

    Good Decision Fabio Capello the right man to lead this great nation!

    I mean who better to captain a team that seems to bottle every big occassion, underperforms consistently yet always have great high expectations I mean perfect choice choosing Mr Chelsea the man who showed his teammates the way by completely bottling the Champions League and handing it to us on a plate (Y) Well Done for that John

    Good Decision Capello I'm sure the team is going to really move up another level with Terry as captain :D You never know he may even become penalty coach soon :L

  • Comment number 59.

    As a Chelsea supporter and season ticket holder I am happy with the choice of John Terry as captain. We've seen his leadership abilities week in week out. His willingness to put his head in where it hurts, literally, for the team.

    I wouldn't disagree with those who condemn some of his behaviour at times but the captaincy should come with the proviso that continuing as captain depends upon the type of role model; he sets.

    The decision was always going to cause disagreement amongst fans although I wouldn't have argued with Gerrard as captain for a number of reasons. He can be an inspirational character, however I think he is a different type of character and not necessarily as vocal as John Terry which when things aren't going so well can be a big plus. On that note I think JT is more vocal than Ferdinand as well.

    From the point of view of his media presence, Gerrard comes across as humble and speaks well, but sometmes he doesn't look comfortable in the spotlight.

    On the Ferdinand front, he's certainly no better a role model than John Terry, with the issue of the drugs test. He is also prone to petulence such as kicking female stewards in anger at defeat and also arguing with and hounding referees as that kind of thing is hardly a Chelsea problem alone and is something Man Utd have done for years.

  • Comment number 60.

    John Terry for me is the right choice for me to wear the Captains armband. Hes a natural leader and Capello knows this. After Chelseas Champions League loss to Manchester United when Terry miss that vital penalty you could see how much it meant to him.

    Good luck to him i'm sure he'll do the job and do it well...

  • Comment number 61.

    im not an emgland fan im from Northern Ireland and im certainly not a Chelsea fan, in fact i hate them but as far as im concerned terry is the best option avaliable. Ferdinand is a world class player but I dont think he should be captain, Terry is a born leader and deserves the captaincy and im sure he wont let you down

  • Comment number 62.

    ''Liverpool, without Gerrard, are an average team.''

    They're not particularly brilliant WITH Gerrard.

    Rio for captain, though, as an Azzurri fan, it doesn't really bother me...

  • Comment number 63.

    WellplayedJT you probably would not last 30 seconds on the pitch with even the reserves of the England under-19s...Fact is that your nothing more than an armchair tactictian so a bit of your vitriolic comments for when you actually achieve something in football, which would never happen if you lived a hundred lilfetimes one after another...In short pack it in mate.

  • Comment number 64.

    Diver Gerrard as Captain? having a laugh?

    He has no chance, he pushed the attack by going down and lambasting the ref till a free kick/penalty goes his way.

    This isn't bias, these is plenty of footage of it.

    While Terry may not be a good angel with regard to the ref, he has something we complain of lacking for so long.

    Passion, and he has it by the bucket full

  • Comment number 65.

    I agree with robbyking...Everyone is tired of this glamour, fame, WAGS crap...I don't think any of us real fans quite frankly give a shiite about what Coleen wears, or if Cheryl Cole is anorexic...Enough of this fame nonsense, ban the WAGS permanently from any competitive England games and support the team...

  • Comment number 66.

    I take the point about Gerrard as captain against Croatia. He had a bad night personally on a bad night for the team.

    I believe if he had been handed the armband on a permanent basis he would have flourished with that responsibility - of course now we will never now unless there is a fairly dramatic alteration in circumstances.

    Tucked away in what has been an excellent debate, there was one very interesting question about whether Terry should actually be first choice in the team.

    I think he should. I am sure Chelsea fans think he should - do others out there think he shouldn't?

  • Comment number 67.

    I with WellplayedJT on this one and you don't have to be good enough to play for England at any level to know good choice from a bad one. Half the managers in the world are and always have been rubbish footballers.

    I just can't understand why he didn't make Ashley Cole his vice captain. Another inspirational and highly vocal player.

  • Comment number 68.


    No bias there then, eh?

    You ''agree with those who condemn Terry's behaviour'' - which is a polite way of saying he's a thug, yet you bring up Rio's missed drugs test as if it confirms how unfit he is to lead England.

    Rio has been the best English player (in the EPL and Europe) for the last 2-3 seasons. This isn't to say he's England's best player but who knows, maybe as captain he may be able to replicate his Utd form with England.

    Capello seems to be losing it!

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    Let's face it, clearly none of the three 'candidates' are Billy Wright or Bobby Moore material.

    Clearly Capello was damned if he did and damned if he didn't on this one.

    In any case international footballers should have enough gumption to know what's required of them.

    More worringly, after this series of wasted friendlies the 'old and past it' won't have been discarded and the 'young and hopeful' won't have been given the opportunity.

    Why isn't the match on BBC TV ? I suppose the FA hierarchy get bigger bonuses if TV revenue is maximised rather than insisting that all England fixtures are shown live to the 'masses' on BBC.

    Some FA "vision" !!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 71.

    Of course he should be first choice Phil and with a CAPITAL F...The guy is no-doubt one of the best defenders in Europe, amongst the best in the world and quite frankly he gushes with passion and dedication to the old Engerland...Another point, he is refreshingly free from all of this fame/glamour/nonsense, I mean does anyone actually know who he's with at the moment...Exactly, and that's the way it should be for any self-respecting England footballer...In my opinion this whole issue of glamour has been one of the main distractions for the England team for years, and without a doubt had a negative effect on their performances at the last world cup...In fact I think David Beckham never truly lived up to his talent as a direct result of the massive distractions his fame-hungry wife burdened him with...Let's not let the same happen to this generation of England players who have shown so much promise for years but never quite done it when it was really necessary. I really think we have to avoid this WAG issue like the plague and literally ban these girls from competitive matches, until results start to come in...
    On the JT issue, he is world class and England have the luxury of having a few other absolute quality centre halves (Woodgate, King to name a couple) who can always step in when needed...Personally I think Steven Taylor merits a definite call-up and soon...

  • Comment number 72.

    Clearly Terry on his day is the sort of quality that England need as a player - not a captain in my opinion - but I don't think that he should be automatically England's first choice. Why should he be - he and other 'star' players consistently under perform for England but you don't see too many others getting a chance - look back through history and you'll find that not every great international TEAM player has been a superstar in one of the biggest / richest clubs in their country. Let them all truly fight for their places. At the moment the manager could be Sven, McClaren, Keegan - whoever you like. What's changed - certainly not the performances.

  • Comment number 73.

    Phil would you agree that Capello's promise that the England set up would change, has been false, he hasnt thrown out the squad members like Woodgate(sicknote) beckham(too old, not good enough), he hasnt picked deserving players Nolan Young Agbonlahor and he then picks the captain who led England to failure,
    New Blood needed

  • Comment number 74.

    Oh and let's not forget - the perfances have been woeful.

  • Comment number 75.

    perfances??? lol :)

  • Comment number 76.

    UTD3inarow - listen to what this man is saying. It is sooo true.

    Capello has chosen a tried and tested failure of a captain at international level.

  • Comment number 77.

    Honestly lets look at the options for who could be England captain. There's:

    Gary Neville - Currently club captain of the reigning Champions. However unless he ends up doing a Maldini, there's really no way that he can be a long term option for either club or country.

    Rio Ferdinand - Completely put the missed drugs test behind him (is it even an issue nowadays?). Although really a "blood and thunder" captain, you know exactly what you are getting with Rio and he has no issues getting into a team-mates face if need be. He basically captained Untied to the double last year and looks to be our long term captain with the limited impact Giggs and Neville will be having over the coming seasons.

    John Terry - Chelsea captain who carries with him an air of arrogance and disrespect/distaste whenever I've seen him play. He isn't the greatest centre-back England has, I'm not sure if he is in the top three. He just doesn't have the technical ability for me. You can't fault him for his "blood and guts" attitude, but there's been too many incidents which makes him a questionable choice. His "antics" after losing the game in Moscow, the amount verbals he has given refs and other players. It wasn't good watching it with Keane, it isn't good watching it with Terry.

    Steven Gerrard - The man has amazing talent, if he could only find what position is best for him to use them with. His manager doesn't know and, like Rooney, there are games when even he doesn't seem to know. A deep playmaker, a box-to-box midfielder, a "man in the hole". WIthout knowing what's best for his game, we can't have him playing at his best for his country.

    Garath Barry - Captain for his club for a number of years, Barry hasn't been one of the "stars" of the league but is a good player and can link in well with those around him. My issue with Barry is that, like Gerrard, the captain of your club should in no way be attempting to force a move to their rivals. If you can turn on your own club, you can turn on anyone.

    Michael Owen - For me, much like David Beckham, Owen is playing domestic football now only to future his own international career. Owen cares about Owen.

    For me, it has to be Ferdinand.

  • Comment number 78.

    When Gerrard captained the side on that wet night last year at Wembley when Croatia duffed us up, he played poorly and offered no inspiration whatsoever. I'm surprised that Ferdinand didn't get the gig but Terry will always give 110% and the players seem to like him. Not sure he's a winner at the top level though.

  • Comment number 79.

    I am quite frankly amazed that people are still talking about Gerrard as England captain.

    Has everyone forgotten the Croatia debacle at Wembley last year? Hardly leading from the front- he was the worst player on the pitch. Didn't see the 'inspirational' Gerrard do anything to motivate his teammates either.

    The fact is that if Gerrard played for England like he does for Liverpool then he would be a good shout for captain. But he doesn't.

    Admittedly Terry has never consistently reproduced his club form for England either, but the way he lead Chelsea last season throughout all their difficulties proves to me what a leader he is.

    The simple fact is that this is a guy that Mourinho and Capello (forget McLaren) have decided is a great captain. I'm quite happy to go with their judgment.

  • Comment number 80.

    "Of course Terry is a leader from the front. WHERE WAS THIS PRAT WHEN WE WERE FAILING TO QUALIFY FOR EURO 2004? I hate this. He is the worst England captain of my generation- well done cappello another sign of your Sven-like incompetence."
    .......He was watching injured from the stands, seeing The great Stevie G put in another awful performance as both player and Captain

  • Comment number 81.

    Gerrard hasn't performed enough in a England shirt. No where near enough to be captain. Terry and Ferdinand, individually and as a pair, have been at least solid, if not more, in a England shirt. Gerrard has rarely been influential in a England shirt. He is like a ineffective ghost in midfield for England. So why give him the added pressure of being captain? Gerrard's style of captainship is through his performances, at Liverpool but he hasn't performed enough at international level to be mentioned in the same breath as Terry and Ferdinand when it comes to captaining England. If it weren't for his status, Gerrard would be a good candidate for being dropped from the England side as his international form has been as anonymous as dropped Lampard

  • Comment number 82.

    Lots of sour grapes in here. You don't get picked to be captain based on how good a player you are - if you're not good enough, you don't get SELECTED, let alone chosen to be captain!

    And it's really sad people can't leave their team bias behind - this is about ENGLAND not Chelsea, Man Utd, or any other individual team.

    It's all about LEADERSHIP. Terry leads Chelsea day in and day out. Gerrard leads Liverpool day in day out. Rio? Not a leader even at Man Utd. So what exactly are his LEADERSHIP credentials? Good player - yes, but a LEADER? No. If he were such a great leader he'd be leading Man Utd - but in that team of champions, he's third string. It matters! Maybe SAF will step up now and recognize a man who according to some is the best England have to offer.

    Gerrard? Well, I feel for him. Tough for the bloke. Fact is, he wasn't really in the running. Good or bad decision, behind the scenes Cappello saw he wasn't the man for today.

    But why pretend we know more than Capello? Based on what? What e read in the tabloids? What we see on the TV or in the stands on a Saturday - when any one of the three aforementioned players are playing weaker teams over and over? We know more than the guy devising the plans, meeting the players, training with the players, the feedback from coaches etc. We know more than him? Give me a break. We have preferences, opinions, but only one man really knows - and he's the coach of England.

    But did anyone really expect England fans to unite behind their national team? Or did we expect many of them to whine and moan and complain? Yeah, that's right. They won't get behind them - they're scream when they win. and cry when they lose - watching every game with a rain-maker.

    I was gutted when we missed out on the Euros. I don't want to feel that again. So we need to get behind the guys we've got now. You can't blame Terry for our not qualifying. We had a lousy strategy - and if we're blaming players then we must blame the entire team - Gerrard, Rio, and Terry included. Shall we get rid of all of them?

    Not going to happen - this is our team. It's great to wallow in the glory when you're winning, but we need to put our knives away when we lose. The FA and the England players have gotten the message.

    If you can't support the England team, and that includes Terry leading them out, then stay away from Wembley - and tune out of the TV and radios. We need fans, not whining kids.

    And Terry a bully? People today wouldn't recognize a lionheart if they wore a billboard around their neck. They wouldn't realize the total commitment, the disappointment, the guilt , the grit, and grief of losing something that meant everything to you - as Terry did in the Champions League. These cowards would rather smirk and make lame jokes at true grit - and a true English hero. It takes a man to be tough as nails - but we're all human. He cried because it meant something to him, he'd given his all, and in one split second it had faded away. AND IT'S THAT DETERMINATION THAT WE NEED IN AN ENGLAND CAPTAIN. If he can inspire just half the team to that level of giving, we'll do okay.

    Get behind the boys, and stop whining. We have a roll to play, let's get it on!

  • Comment number 83.

    England do not have massive depths of quality so I think it has be evolution rather than revolution for Capello...apologies for the rotten cliche.

    I must confess I thought we'd seen the last of David James some while ago, but no-one has come forward to make a real case to be in front of him as yet.

    Not sure about the selection of Emile Heskey and would love to see Dean Ashton given another chance. It was a real pity he picked up cramp at the weekend.

    The real test of whether Capello has changed things will come in the qualifiers, especially away to Croatia.

    We will also see whether he has injected his reputed iron discipline into the squad.

    Good debate though on lots of different issues - let's keep it going. All constructive contributions gratefully received.

  • Comment number 84.

    On whether John Terry should be an automatic starter for England.......

    if I was Fabio Capello, I'd be knocking down the door of Jamie Carragher to play alongside Ferdinand.

    A fit Woodgate should also be ahead of Terry, but he is so injury plagued it's not even worth the England manager putting him his plans leading up to internationals.

    King should also, in my opinion, be ahead of Terry if he could stay injury free.

    Dare I say it, I also think the quick, intelligent and mobile Wes Brown who proved his ability against Barcelona at Old Trafford should be ahead of Terry!

    Terry isn't quick and I don't think he's the best at reading the game in the way Carragher is, for example and can sometimes be cumbersome in the tackle. He also lacks mobility.

    One thing he does do is give 100% all of the time. But that isn't always enough.

  • Comment number 85.

    What a bunch of babys with all the moaning about Strong John's "bad behaviour." You're not talking about a football captain, you're looking for a father-figure!

    This is football lads, and it's a tough, physical, competitive game played under some of the most intense media scrutiny in history.

    And when you fly into Zagreb or Poland or Paris or Berlin or South Africa or Turkey etc., and you're in a hostile environment in a match you know is going to be a battle from start to finish, who do you want going in first and assuming the most responsibility?

    Who is going to be the enforcer if the other side tries to get rough with one them little wingers?

    Who is going to upend the other side's brute if needs be?

    Who is going to throw his body into the fray and stop goals at all cost, even if it requires a bicycle kick or a boot in the head?

    Yeah he's loud and abrasive and tough. He's Strong John Terry, captain of Chelsea, captain of England, leader of men.

    You may not want him dating your daughter, but he'll do a right job.

  • Comment number 86.

    I'm sorry, but England only reason has one man in the squad who really deserves to the captain of a national side- and that's Beckham. As much as I dislike his wife and the shenanigans that follow him, even when he made his high profile mistakes he bounced back to help his country get to major finals.

    Gerrard? A nobody in a white shirt. Cares only about Liverpool.

    Terry? Very much the Butcher type defender, but with far more arrogance than he really should have- considering his centre half partner at Chelsea is twice the player he is.

    Ferdinand? The next best choice after Beckham, perhaps. Seems to have learnt his lessons and appears to be maturing into a world class defender and a decent professional.

  • Comment number 87.

    just been reading through teh comments,
    and i think no.34 said Rooney was a thug,
    errmm... his not realli a thug,
    his passionate about his sport,
    i think u need to look up teh term "thug"

    and personally, none, of gerrerd, terry or ferdinend deserved to be captain,
    England need fresh blood,
    Richards for instance, who is enexplicably excluded from teh squad, for God knows what reason, is a future england captain,

    but as he is too young, i s'pose tehre needs to be captain inbetween, and that would have to be honestly Beckham, s he commaanded leadership.

  • Comment number 88.

    absoluitely comical that some new-age "soccerinos" think Beckham is any kind of exmple to follow.What england missed perhaps more than anything in that era-defining world cup quarter-final v Brazil in 2002 was any sense of tangible on-field drive or leadership.I dont think theres ever been a more lamentable failure to lead england as a unit than we witnessed in the last two world cups and beyond that the euorpan championships of 2004 where Beckham was the single-biggest joker ever to take the field with the national armband.

    No,we should have given Gerrard his chance.He is honest to the point of bluntness,what a refreshing change his realism would have made from the appaling vacuousness of the "sven and becks" time.No bullcr*p like Beckham constantly delivered to protect himself and his brand,just porper old school footballer honesty,im dismayed Gerrard hasnt got it.

  • Comment number 89.

    Let me see if I get this right................we get rid of one manager, for incompetency, hire another, at least three or four times more expensive, who picks the same team with the same captain and you are discussing the virtues of the situation ?
    We needed change, new players with a winning attitude, young players who hopefully would learn. We do not need the same old rubbish, rehashed, made to look new. We've heard Joe Cole's nonsense before and it is just talk. Indubitily we will here it again from Terry.
    I've said it before, what we have now in this squad are eleven players who have proved, over a number of years, they are not good enough. Eleven players who are not of international standard and only one who is anywhere good enough and he should be captain..........Gareth Barry.

  • Comment number 90.

    John Terry, the same guy that was seen to spit on Tevez during the Champions League Final. Bravo!!! Sure hope he doesn't lead by example or God knows what he'll have his English team-mates doing.

  • Comment number 91.

    I think Terry got the nod because, whilst Ferdinand is from London himself, Terry scores on two fronts in that he plays in and is from the 'capital'. This was enough to excuse his disgraceful attitude towards officials and his previous off the pitch demeanours. Being fair he has not, like his rival in this contest of the contemptibles, been banned for missing drugs tests.
    Personally, I am happy as it is another step towards Gerrard realising that early international retirement will prolong his career where it matters and where he is wanted and appreciated. We can leave Inger-Lund to the flag waving Combat 18 types down south. They deserve each other.

  • Comment number 92.

    As an Arsenal fan, I've no interest in the England captaincy at all (Henry as France captain over Gallas - there's a proper story for you). But to neutrals it's obvious that Gerrard should be given the armband. Terry is an unsavoury character on the field, nor do I think he merits a guaranteed place in the starting line-up. There's a stronger case for Rio but I'm not sure he's much of a leader.

  • Comment number 93.

    Terry has certain negative attributes that really ought to preclude him being chosen as captain of the national team, his behaviour on the pitch has been less than graceful on countless occassions.
    He is something of a thuggish bully, certainly not someone i would desire my child to look up too.

  • Comment number 94.

    I am a Man Utd fan (Sorry) My choice would have been Stephen Gerrard. Why, No previous yob behaviour etc, John Terry is not a good role model. Just last season when he was actually still England CAPTAIN he was present when Ashley Cole his team member disrespected the official. What did he do, nothing. A Captain should have told him to behave and show some respect. Now we have him as our childrens role model. No wonder we have such a yob culture. Appointment has nothing to do with qualities required to do the job. It is to do with freindship of two foriegn managers. I look forward to Mr Terry's wonderfully articulate press conference (not).

    Proud of our Olympic teams achievments, but will no longer be watching England games whilst Mr Terry is captain.

  • Comment number 95.

    Terry is getting good at looking very, very upset when losing.... so will be a great england captain.

    shed a few tears.... look to the ground... say how you came so close to glory... hug the manager.... the perfect england captain...

    and shite at penalties, to boot!

  • Comment number 96.

    Well yeah, I would have chosen Terry or Gerrard, and I don't think I could really choose between them so I'm glad one of them got it and not Rio.

  • Comment number 97.


    I thought Capello was his own man. JT has a side to his game which should discount him as captain. Turns out Capello may just be another FA sycophant.

  • Comment number 98.

    Quote from No. 94:

    Proud of our Olympic teams achievments, but will no longer be watching England games whilst Mr Terry is captain.


    Thank goodness! At last! Any other of you spineless wonders want to stop supporting the team because a player you personally don't rate became Captain?

    Maybe the Captain spot really is important, it weeds out the glory hunters who only get behind the national team if it includes their club favorites.

    If you're going to not pick England players because they lost on penalties we're not likely to be able to field for a five-a-side. --LOL--

  • Comment number 99.

    Gerrard has been non-existent for England since the 5-1 win over Germany. If it weren't for his big name status, he would be dropped from the first team, let alone not be captain.

  • Comment number 100.

    In reply to comment 99.

    What are you talking about? I can only assume that you weren't watching any of the matches since the 5-1 win over Germany. Because he has been consistently one of Englands best players. I am not one of his fans but he has been playing well.


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