Clear-the-air meeting 'blocked' by Cap
John Terry's attempts to hold a clear-the-air meeting on Sunday night appear to have been quashed by England coach Fabio Capello. Although there has been no official statement on the discussion Terry was expecting to have in a pre-planned team gathering, reports have emerged suggesting Capello squashed the idea flat. Rather than listening to what Terry had to say, let alone acting on his grievances, it is claimed the revolt was headed off before it even got underway, on the advice of senior figures surrounding the England camp who feared Terry was not speaking for the whole team and Capello was in no mood to listen anyway. If true, it would leave a group of senior England players - Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, David James, Jamie Carragher, Glen Johnson, Aaron Lennon and Peter Crouch - who initially got their problems out into the open over a beer after the Algeria debacle, in an uncomfortable position given Terry named them ahead of an intention to speak, which he indicated he was willing to go through with no matter what the consequences. "We are in a meeting with the manager, whether he starts it or finishes it, the players can say how they feel and if it upsets him then I'm on the verge of just saying: 'you know what? so what? I'm here to win it for England'," he said. "If we can't be honest with each other there is no point being here. "It has worked in the past at Chelsea. We have a responsibility to ourselves, the manager and everyone else to voice an opinion and hope he takes it on board." Based on an assumption that Terry was not able to get across a point of view that would have included irritation at the lack of things to occupy them at their Rustenburg base, players being described as fearful by Capello following the dismal draw with Algeria and a growing belief that the Italian must ditch his preference for a 4-4-2 formation in order to secure the most from his talented but underperforming squad, where England go now is anybody's guess. It appears Capello is not in a mood to concede the high ground that comes with his status as coach, other than reportedly agreeing to confirm his starting line-up to his players more than two hours before kick-off, as has been his practice up to now. Terry must now either swallow his pride and redouble his efforts ahead of the Slovenia encounter in Port Elizabeth, when only victory can be certain of securing a last-16 berth, or have a second go at raising issues that came to light following that plea from the Chelsea defender for a post-match beer on Friday. "I went to see (assistant manager) Franco Baldini after the game and said 'Flipping hell, let everyone have a beer. Let's just switch off'," said Terry, amid a media engagement where he vowed to be frank and honest and where every word dripped with the responsibility of captaincy that is now Steven Gerrard's but, in every sense but actually wearing the armband, still belongs to the Chelsea man. "Usually everyone goes straight back to their room and stays there until the following morning. But for the first time since the manager took over he let us have a beer. "We had one each, nothing more than that, and seven or eight of us sat there talking about the game. It was good to get things off our chest and express how we felt." That part of the discussion done, Terry expected to move on and tackle Capello in an attempt to ease growing tension and get the Italian to at least accommodate the English psyche, which is simply not accustomed to young people spending large amounts of time doing nothing, day after day. "Maybe the togetherness has been missing at times," said Terry. "When things don't go well it is important the group stays together. That is what we had the other night. Hopefully that tension will go now because it would be unacceptable to go home on Wednesday." There was something particularly telling about Terry revealing all on Father's Day. It may seem a minor point to some, but children are being missed, even amongst the most wealthy parents. And in times of strife, it is natural for anyone to seek comfort in the safe and familiar. "I am away from my kids and it is hard," said Terry. "But I don't want to go home. I am here to win it." To even make the last 16, England need to perform far better than they did against Algeria - universally acknowledged as a pitiful display, even inside the dressing room. "I certainly felt there was a lack of passion," he said. "On paper we are a much better team than Algeria but there was no tackling, no-one winning headers, no-one winning second balls. "It was not acceptable. You have to show a bit of aggression and a bit of fight. "No player had that fire in their belly. I can assure everyone it is going to be there against Slovenia."
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