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WORLD CUP 2010: It's mutiny! John Terry fails in plot to undermine Fabio Capello

21 Jun 2010 10:23:47

WORLD CUP 2010: It's mutiny! John Terry fails in plot to undermine Fabio Capello

Four months after being stripped of the England captaincy, John Terry tried to assume the role of player-manager here on Sunday. At least that was how it looked, how it felt. Terry appeared to be leading some kind of coup an uprising against Fabio Capello that would challenge the Italian's authority and see the players take control before it was too late. Another disappointing performance against Slovenia on Wednesday will probably see England fail to progress from what was supposed to be an easy group in this World Cup. Undermining the boss: John Terry appeared to be leading an uprising against Fabio Capello during the defenders press conference Terry was made available at a morning Press conference during which he stunned FA bosses and team-mates by revealing plans for a crisis meeting on Sunday night. He suggested what would be said, even if Capello did not want to hear what the players had to say. On a day when Terry's Chelsea clubmate Nicolas Anelka was sent home for indiscipline by France, the former England captain even accepted that players might run the risk of being kicked out of an unhappy camp. 'Maybe a few of us will be sent home after this evening,' he said. It was astonishing. The most extraordinary England press conference since Kevin Keegan announced in 2001 he had just resigned as manager in a Wembley toilet. Crunch talks: Terry (left) is said to still be angry with Capello for stripping him of the captaincy in February It had echoes of Italia '90, when the players responded to two draws in their opening two games by going to Bobby Robson and informing him of their desire to switch to a 3-5-2 formation that took them to the semi-finals. Robson always insisted it was his idea. From the players, however, came a conflicting version of events. Here in South Africa, there would be no such doubts. If England now switch to the 4-5-1 formation that Terry endorsed on Sunday a formation that would see Wayne Rooney play as a lone striker with Joe Cole on the left and skipper Steven Gerrard in a central attacking role it would be because the players had demanded as much. 'If it upsets him [Capello] then I'm on the verge of just saying, 'You know what? So what, I'm here to win it for England',' said Terry. The players, he suggested, were going to rip up the Capello rule-book and have a beer when they fancied one; tell the celebrated Italian manager how they now wanted to play; tell him that things were going to change. Even that they wanted a man 'at the near post' on set-pieces. Like it or lump it, Fabio. This is our World Cup too. And he said he was speaking for everyone. 'I'm here on behalf of the players,' he insisted. Only he wasn't. He was not acting on behalf of the players but committing what, for Terry this year, amounted to yet another serious error of judgment. A performance that was impressive but only because it was so wonderfully Machiavellian. On Sunday, Terry succeeded in backing the manager while completely undermining him in the same breath. 'I have 100 per cent confidence in the manager,' he declared even though pretty much everything else he said suggested otherwise. Within a couple of hours of Terry's meeting with the media came communication from within the England hotel. The players were furious that he had dragged them into such a situation, just as they were incredulous that he had disclosed the details of their drink after the dismal goalless draw with Algeria on Friday night. It was quickly being referred to as the 'Cape Town Coup' but that was not an interpretation that was shared by those, Terry aside, who were there. 'I went to see Franco (Baldini) after the game and said, 'Look, let everyone have a beer and speak to the manager. Flippin' hell, let's just switch off',' he revealed. Holding them off: Terry knows he is practically irreplaceable on the pitch because of the injuries to other key defenders 'Eight players sat there talking about the game. It was good to getthings off our chest and express how we felt. The discussions betweenthe players will stay private but it was really nice to unwind and getthings off our chest. 'There was me, Lamps, Wazza, AaronLennon, Jamo, Crouchy, Johnno, Jamie Carragher, Stevie, probably acouple more. I'll probably get in trouble for saying this.' Hewas right about that, and soon an alternative take on Terry'sperformance was being presented. The story of a man driven bybitterness and a desire for revenge. The story of a player who hadproved difficult to manage from the moment he arrived here inRustenburg. Always moaning, always angry. 'He is angry because he is not the captain,' said one insider. Terry claimed he had spent a couple of hours on Sunday morning reading newspaper websites, 'to get a sense of what the fans are feeling back home'. He clearly sensed that Capello was vulnerable, that there were problems in the camp; problems that he could exploit and then use to his advantage. Payback time, perhaps, for the manager stripping him of the captaincy back in February over his affair with Wayne Bridge's former girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel and that story, revealed by Sportsmail, about his private box at Wembley. According to sources here, Terry has been a hugely disruptive influence. One spoke of an incident during training when Terry clashed with the fitness coach, Massimo Neri, over some shuttle runs he was being ordered to do. Terry refused, Capello intervened and told him to keep running and after one more sprint the Chelsea defender claimed his hamstring was sore and walked off the pitch. 'He is angry because he is not the captain,' said one insider  Another time Capello reprimanded him for not paying attention, screaming: 'Focus, focus!' Terry made a mistake on Sunday. Sensing that Capello needed him more than ever, that he was the only top-class centre half still standing after the loss of Rio Ferdinand and Ledley King to injury, he thought he was untouchable. That he could say what he liked. He thought he was as powerful with England as he clearly is at Chelsea, where such full and frank exchanges have taken place. After the 2008 Carling Cup final defeat with Avram Grant, and after losing to Inter Milan last season with Carlo Ancelotti. 'It's the same at Chelsea,' he said. 'I might say something to Carlo in a meeting in front of the players that he doesn't like, but we walk out the meeting and it's forgotten. I'm doing the best for Chelsea, and if I say something tonight, and I probably will and a few others will, then I'm doing the best for England. As I said before, I'm doing it for my country.' Only there is a difference, and not just because it involves a stuttering England team at a World Cup. Terry only spoke of such meetings after they had taken place. Not beforehand and not with a 64-year-old manager who does not take kindly to having his authority challenged. In the end, Sunday night's meeting passed as Capello had originally planned it, with a review of the Algeria game. Chit-chat: Terry let slip about a meeting with senior players after the Algeria match On Sunday afternoon, Terry was intercepted by senior figures from the coaching and playing staff and told to abort his idea to confront Capello. Realising he did not have support, he responded accordingly. But this remains symptomatic of this era of modern millionaire footballers. Of bloated egos that are simply out of control. The France squad is disintegrating amid clashes between the management and players and such problems are undermining England's effort here. Capello is not blameless. He, too, has made mistakes that have damaged his reputation in the eyes of the players as well as the supporters. There was the Capello Index; an act of desperation in trying to drag Paul Scholes out of international retirement as well as Jamie Carragher; the handling of his three goalkeepers; the flirtation with Inter Milan before signing a newly drafted contract; an unspecified role for David Beckham, not to mention a selection policy that some players believe leaves them insufficiently prepared. He does need to make changes to his team, and to the formation that Terry spoke of on Sunday. Role change: Terry suggested Joe Cole should be given match-time and that Wayne Rooney would be better served as a lone striker Joe Cole has to play and Rooney needs to be deployed in the lone striker position in which he excelled at Manchester United last season. Capello also needs to stop blaming everyone and everything else. If it's not the ball it's a team he does not recognise, a team that has gone back two years, or a star striker who seems to be wrong in the head. Rather worryingly on Sunday, there was still talk of him starting with Jermain Defoe on Wednesday. But Rooney, like Terry, is part of the problem. A player, insiders say, who is strutting around like a pitbull prima donna, is acting like one of the best three players in the tournament but not playing like one. All he has succeeded in doing is putting himself under enormous pressure while leaving many of his international colleagues distinctly unimpressed. Capello knows he has a problem, with both Terry and Rooney. But he also went into Sunday night's meeting believing he still had the complete support of 20 of his 23 players. Terry has emerged as the Anelka of the camp; England's answer to Roy Keane without the direct confrontation and without the walk-out. Well, not yet anyway. Terry is a winner, and there is no doubt that much of what he said on Sunday was driven by a desire to succeed, driven by a desire to see England have a successful World Cup. But his view of Capello has been distorted by that meeting at Wembley when the Italian took away something that was precious to him and he is deluded enough to believe he can now push the manager to one side and become England's saviour. Problem child: Wayne Rooney, insiders say, is strutting around like a pitbull prima donna 'I was born to do stuff like this,' he said. 'If I feel something needs changing, that's a discussion I'll have with the manager tonight in the meeting. 'If we feel things need to be changed, whether he needs to change personnel or change his ways, we'll say so. Everyone needs to voice their opinion and we hope he then takes it on board. But it's the manager who has the final decision.' Team selection, said Terry, was the manager's responsibility but that did not stop him giving his opinion. 'There's enough time to look at formations, a system, and whether the manager changes it to go with five in midfield, Wayne up front on his own, I don't know,' he said. In a rare display of humility, there was one moment when he recognised what a difficult job Capello has. 'It certainly wouldn't be a job I'd take,' he said. 'Mind you, I probably wouldn't be given it.' But on Sunday he did attempt to take control, and in the end he succeeded only in making himself an isolated figure within the England camp. At a time when England need to rediscover some form and fast when the players need to stop whining about being bored and take some responsibility on the pitch, it is not exactly what Capello would have wanted. Instead he was left with a squad divided by dissenters and struggling with a crisis of confidence. What a mess.    WORLD CUP 2010: Roy Hodgson in line to replace Fabio Capello as FA fear England manager will go Ian Ladyman's World Cup diary: Barren Ronaldo can get a goal in wink of an eye WORLD CUP 2010: Pressure? It's a picnic for united Slovenia ahead of England showdown FA back England boss Fabio Capello despite lacklustre World Cup displaysVIDEO: France squad refuse to train after Evra bust-up with fitness coachTerry denies rift claims between players and England boss CapelloEngland intruder charged by police after invading dressing roomCLICK HERE FOR ALL THE LATEST ENGLAND NEWS


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