Date:15th March 2011 at 3:50am
Written by:

John Terry slips

Would you follow this man into battle?

On Sunday, on this very site, I wrote an article expressing my belief that Fabio Capello had completely lost the plot after a series of bizarre decisions and statements.

The straw which broke the camel’s back was the idea that the England manager was ready to reinstate John Terry as England captain.

I couldn’t believe that after all the drama surrounding the Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend scandal, then the subsequent attempted mutiny in South Africa, where Terry claimed he was going to “have a word” with Capello about how crap England were, he was actually still considered for the most prestigious role in English football.

While I thought the notion of returning Terry to the role of captain was ridiculous there was a tiny, tiny, tiny…..tiny part of me that understood why Capello was considering him. The merry-go-round with the skipper’s armband in the 2-1 win over Denmark, which had seen the likes of Ashley Cole and Gareth Barry wearing it, made Capello’s decision a tad more understandable.

With Ferdinand and Vice Captain Steven Gerrard unavailable for the game against Wales, Capello turning to Terry when the other options available were an air rifle carrying defender, or arguably the most average player ever to win over 20 caps for England didn’t seem that far-fetched.

Although I obviously would like to have seen Wayne Rooney being given the chance, I could forgive Capello for his stupidity, he’s running out of options and I’m not sure Wazza’s quite ready for more national responsibility and expectation.

The latest news tells a different story, not that Terry is seen as a stop gap replacement until Rio returns, but is actually being considered for the role on a permanent basis. In other words Ferdinand will be stripped of the captaincy and it will be handed to John Terry.

Now I understand that a similar situation arose at United, where due to injuries Ferguson felt he could no longer rely on Ferdinand as skipper and wanted someone who would play almost every game. This is different however, Vidic wasn’t stripped of the armband for bringing the role into disrepute and making it untenable for certain players to play alongside him. Vidic also didn’t claim in a press conference that he was going to lead a team of players in some form of half-baked mutiny against Sir Alex.

Also Vidic is not responsible for acting as some sort of example and ambassador to the entire country.

Throughout this season, many in the media have claimed that Terry is ‘back to his best’ and that he’s a truly great leader, yet Chelsea are enduring one of their worst campaigns ever and the defenders form, until only very recently was called into question.

Then there’s Terry’s demeanour and actions on the pitch, he seems to revel in acting in an arrogant way that seems designed to antagonise opposition players and fans, almost the exact opposite of Rio Ferdinand who comes across as being everyone’s mate.

Watching a player I’ve got little or no real respect for, leading out the national team ahead of a man who’s a shining example of how a footballer ambassador should behave, is going to be hard work to say the least. In fact I’d go one further and say it’s beyond me.

While I’ve always supported England, after all I am English, I’ve never quite felt the love and affinity for the national side that I do towards United.

I’ve only attended a few England games for example, the last one being the 4-1 in South Africa- which shows how lucky I am, while I lost count of how many United games I’d been to by the mid nineties.

I don’t feel the same passion I do stood listening to people singing “I’m England till I die” as I would stood singing “U-N-I…..”

I don’t spend almost an hour every day talking about, writing about, reading about and thinking about England, while that’s a fairly conservative day for me when it comes to United.

I’ve struggled at times to put my club feelings to one side while watching the national side, especially when I have to see players I detest such as Steven Gerrard being lauded over because they scored in a pointless friendly.

I would never cease supporting United no matter who was wearing the skipper’s armband, but the idea of seeing Rio stripped of it, to make way for John Terry, makes me feel the 4-1 in Bloemfontein may be the last England game I attend for quite a while.

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