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The Libero - Capello left with no choice over Terry

Published: 03 Feb 2010 - 07:09:12

Everyone seems to have an opinion on the John Terry situation, but there is just one view, certainly in footballing terms, that really counts - that of Fabio Capello. And the England coach has been left with little choice but to relieve his captain of his duties.

Terry has not committed any crime, and he should not be punished as someone who has done so. But what he has done is seriously let down his coach and, tellingly in a World Cup year, made the England dressing room susceptible to a potentially damaging rift with just months to go before the big kick-off in South Africa.

Already we have seen evidence of ridiculous celebrity-style teams of backers being formed with Carlos Tevez lifting his shirt at the weekend to reveal his loyalties firmly lie with Team Bridge.

Of course, no one cares who Tevez sides with and Manchester City's English contingent wisely opted out of wearing the sloganed tee-shirt, but it is an issue which is likely to split opinion in the Three Lions camp, if not now, then surely later.

Broken metatarsals aside, a disharmonious dressing room is the last thing Capello needs as he gears up for his team's campaign to bring home the trophy that has so painfully eluded the nation since 1966.

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But with that eventuality now more reality than bad dream, Capello knows he must act - and quickly. The FA have already indicated that any decision Terry's future role for his country will be taken by Capello himself and a meeting has reportedly been scheduled before the end of the week.

A telling insight as to the possible outcome of that meeting was given two years ago when he made Terry David Beckham's successor as England captain. Then, Capello made it absolutely clear that his choice would be expected to set an example and be a role model not only on the pitch but also outside the game. "In life" as he put it.

The latest revelations have proved, if proof were needed considering the lurid stories have have all-too-regularly followed him, that Terry is far from the ideal role model the coach hoped he would be.

That he has been so badly let down is likely to have made Capello upset and angry in equal measures, and probably every emotion in between.

Terry should have known better. The Italian has not been afraid of making bold decisions during his England reign, as David Beckham and Michael Owen know only too well, and he is unlikely to flinch from another this time around.

Nevertheless, on the face of it, stripping Terry of the captaincy for an indiscretion committed away from the pitch may seem rather a harsh punishment. What people get up to behind closed doors is their own business, after all.

But when those actions impact on football matters, as they surely do in this case given that the harmony of his squad has been brought under threat, then such draconian measures can be justified.

The question then is whether Capello overlooks Terry completely and drops him from his squad entirely. Terry's class on the pitch is undeniable, his leadership and lionheart spirit not in question. Yet centre-back is the one position in which England boast strength in depth. Would Terry be missed if he were omitted? Yes. Is he as essential to World Cup success as, say, Wayne Rooney? No.

Capello certainly has one major headache to cope with. But considering his reputation as a strict disciplinarian - and his expectations of his players - the writing may already be on the wall for Terry.

READ THE LIBERO EXCLUSIVELY AT FOOTBALL.CO.UK EVERY WEDNESDAY

DSG


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FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:the libero
Libero (noun): 1. Versatile, ball-playing defender given licence to roam. Expected to break up opposition attacks while instigating counters. Role patented by German legend Franz Beckenbauer. 2. Versatile weekly football columnist, aka journalist Mike Hytner, given licence to write what he likes. Expected to file every Wednesday. Not nearly as talented as his boyhood hero Der Kaiser.

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