LONDON: John Terry was sacked as England captain yesterday as head coach Fabio Capello reacted ruthlessly to the Chelsea defender’s alleged extra-marital affair with the ex-girlfriend of international team-mate Wayne Bridge.
After a brief meeting with Terry at Football Association (FA) headquarters at Wembley, Capello said he had decided to take the captaincy away from the centreback in the overall interests of the squad he will take to the World Cup in South Africa in June and July.
“After much thought, I have made the decision that it will be best for me to take the captaincy away from John Terry,” Capello said in a statement.
“As a captain with the team, John Terry has displayed extremely positive behaviour. However, I have to take into account other considerations and what is best for all of the England squad. What is best for all of the England team has inspired my choice. John Terry was notified first.”
Capello appeared to indicate that Rio Ferdinand, who is currently vice-captain of the national team, would take over as captain.
“When I chose John Terry as captain, I also selected a vice-captain and also named a third choice (Steven Gerrard),” he said. “There is no reason to change this decision.”
Capello had been under intense pressure to strip the Chelsea defender of the captaincy from sections of the media that have spent the last week lambasting the married father of two over his alleged infidelity with Vanessa Perroncel, an underwear model who has a son with Bridge but is now estranged from the Manchester City left-back.
Terry had been strongly backed by his club coach Carlo Ancelotti, who has insisted that the player’s private life will have no bearing on his position as Chelsea skipper, and Stuart Pearce, who coaches England’s under-21s and helps Capello with the senior squad.
But it appears that Capello had made up his mind before a meeting that reportedly lasted only 12 minutes and finished with Terry in a distraught state.
In a statement, Terry said: “I fully respect Fabio Capello’s decision. I will continue to give everything for England.”
Capello, who is due to attend the Euro 2012 qualifying draw in Warsaw tomorrow, had picked Terry as his permanent captain in August 2008 having initially appeared to be leaning towards Gerrard or Ferdinand.
He has also spoken highly of the leadership qualities of Wayne Rooney, who captained England in a friendly against Brazil in November and could yet be the World Cup skipper given the injury problems Gerrard and Ferdinand have had this season.
Capello was left in no doubt about the extent to which the scandal has gripped the country when he was greeted by a huge media scrum at Heathrow airport on Thursday, following his return to England from Switzerland, where he had been recuperating from knee surgery. — AFP