Friday Football Feature: FA right to strip Terry of England captaincy


Chelsea skipper John Terry saw his national armband removed by Football Association chairman David Bernstein this morning.


By Jamie Dickenson

Chelsea skipper John Terry saw his national armband removed by Football Association chairman David Bernstein this morning.

The decision came in light of Terry’s July court date over racial abuse allegations after an incident with QPR’s Anton Ferdinand.

Why it is taking the judicial system nearly 10 months for the trial to make it to court is beyond me, however the FA’s dismissal of Terry as captain of England is far more understandable.

Firstly, it should be said that John Terry is one of the most important players in the England squad, a mainstay at centre half and an experienced international with over 70 caps.

This is not a decision that would have been taken lightly, with manager Fabio Capello previously stating that he was free to select the former West Ham man as his on-pitch leader because Terry was innocent until proven guilty.

However influential board members at the FA intervened to take the issue out of Capello’s hands, with a likely consideration being that the court date set is after this summer’s European Championships.

Deja-vu it must almost feel like for Terry and Capello, who went through this charade in February 2010 after allegations were made that the player had an affair with national colleague Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend.

And so two years later Terry again loses the playing position of highest responsibility in the English game, and he must think that controversy simply will not leave him alone.

It would be unwise to comment on the alleged racism affair between Terry and Anton Ferdinand, whose brother Rio is set to face the accused at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, when Manchester United travel down to London to face Chelsea.

Until the details are made clear during the trial, no one is in a position to decide whether John Terry is guilty of racist comments or not. Unlike the Suarez-Evra case which the FA investigated privately, this matter is of police interest and reports to the letter of law.

Despite the clouds of doubt over Terry’s involvement in racism, the FA have decided to act now to remove him as figurehead of the English team.

Former FA Chief Executive Mark Palios questioned why his former employers stance had been changed, having backed Terry when the allegations were first made in October.

However, with no conclusion set to be made on the subject until after Euro 2012, the right call has been made to relieve Terry of international leadership duties, and if he is selected in the squad for Poland and Ukraine his job will be a lot easier as a result.

Finding a successor to the Chelsea skipper will be no easy task, as the side is undoubtedly in a state of transition, with many candidates around but few outstanding applicants.

Rio Ferdinand has immediately ruled himself out of the running on Twitter, whilst Frank Lampard is suffering a difficult season at his club, and Wayne Rooney arguably doesn’t have the sufficient attitude to lead his country.

Young tyro’s Joe Hart and Jack Wilshere are potential future England captains but awarding leadership to either of the two seems premature.

The most qualified candidate for the captaincy is Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard, who having returned to form and fitness on Merseyside will play a big part in England’s hopes this summer.

Spurs’ Scott Parker is a dark horse for the role, but Gerrard has been captain before, would take great pride in the job and combines leadership attributes with his natural talent and determination to succeed. 

Whilst I believe Terry deserves to lose the armband, I feel he still has a lot to offer the England national set-up. And that should be for an England side skippered by Steven Gerrard.

As the country prepares to unite for the European Championships in an Olympic year that England will host, experience and reliability are key qualities that the FA should be searching for in Terry’s replacement. They should look no further than Gerrard.


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