News that John Terry, the Chelsea centre-back, is set to regain the England captaincy, has not gone down too well with the current skipper Rio Ferdinand. Unsurprisingly, the Manchester United man is said to be ‘very upset’ about not only the news, but the way the whole situation has been handled – and it does not take a genius to work that out.
Given that Ferdinand and his usual deputy Steven Gerrard are both out injured, Terry perhaps seems the obvious choice to take over for the game against Wales, as a one off. Michael Dawson would be another candidate, although Terry is the senior of the two centre-halves, and Scott Parker would undoubtedly be an excellent leader on and off the pitch, but is not guaranteed a starting place.
Terry’s appointment for this one game would therefore not be too widely disputed, but Capello has said that ‘it needs to be permanent’, for reasons known only to the Italian. That quote is even more unanticipated given that, against Denmark, Terry was not given the armband, again in the absence of Ferdinand and Terry. Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Gareth Barry all had their turn, the result of which was Terry’s joke that ‘they would have given it to one of the stewards ahead of me.’
Much seems to have changed, however, in the last five weeks; Capello’s stance on the matter undoubtedly has. A decision that was once ‘irreversible’ is very close to being undone. Capello has said that ‘at the same time, we have to remember that he was always my first choice as captain’. That may be, but it seems weak to reappoint the man that was sacked only just over a year ago.
Terry’s leadership qualities are without doubt undeniable. On the other hand, his record off the pitch is much less clean, as we all know. As an on-field captain, he is probably the best man for the job, but given what has happened and the choice that was taken to sack him, the decision to reinstate Terry smacks of desperation. No doubt, he has the qualities required for successful captaincy, but Capello has perhaps gone the wrong way of going about it.
Of course, it must not be forgotten that Ferdinand himself does not have a completely clean slate. Back in 2003 he failed to attend a drugs test and although he passed it three days later, he was banned for eight months. There is the argument that if Ferdinand can get away with off the field incidents, then Terry should be able to as well.
In an ideal world, footballers would be angels and the media would not pick up on every incident. Though that is not the case, it would still be nice to see a leader both on and off the pitch. Terry may be a naughty boy, but he has excellent leadership qualities, as demonstrated at Chelsea. Even so, it seems a backward step from Capello to reappoint Terry, when there are other options for the future.