In 2002 and 2006, England’s World Cup defences consisting of Sol Campbell and Rio Ferdinand, and Ferdinand and John Terry respectively, were sought out for honourable mentions as some of the most robust rear-guards of the tournaments. With Liverpool stalwart Jamie Carragher and Spurs’ Ledley King in back-up, the position of centre-back exuded a strength in-depth which was the envy of many fellow nations. Following the retirement (then un-retirement, then re-retirement) of Carragher, the perpetual injuries of King and (less so but more worryingly) Ferdinand and the, err, vacation of moral sensibilities suffered by the new/old England Captain John Terry, suddenly central reinforcements are desperately needed, in order to piece together what was once the foundation upon which England’s tournament failures were so readily built.
Fabio Capello is today set to reappoint John Terry as England Captain, at the expense of Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard, both injured for the upcoming European Championship Qualifying match against Wales. If the reports are to be believed – and Capello seemed quite forthright on the subject in interviews yesterday – then such a decision would be a major about turn for the England manager. Capello however, is not the only one to be performing a swift about-face on the England captaincy. The national press, so scathing a little over a year ago when Terry was exposed as having partaken in an affair with a former team-mate’s girlfriend are, with a few notable exceptions, championing his decision to hand it back, as the right and proper thing to do. Martin Samuel of the Daily Mail, who last year urged Terry to fall on his sword before Capello got there first, today called Terry “England’s natural leader” now leads the praise for Capello’s actions. However, is it the right decision to give the philandering Chelsea skipper the armband for a second time and why are the press so eager to conveniently forget their condemnation of little more than a year ago?