Ferdinand the easy choice for Capello

Interesting that Fabio Capello should spend a reported 12 minutes with John Terry before defenestrating him.

It’s likely that three things happened: 1. Capello was appalled at the moral standards of a man supposedly worthy of English footballs highest individual honour, 2. Capello got wind of the fact that this was not the only worm out of the proverbial can, and 3. that Capello deemed the effect of such an ignominious stain on the reputation of England’s captain, as far more negative to team morale than the impact of his removal.

What has emerged from the frenzied reporting of John Terry’s affair with Miss Perroncel, is a consensus that a man who earns a reported £170 thousand pounds a week ought to foster some measure of discipline outside of his professional pursuit. Quite simply, whilst free to shag who he pleases as retired footballer, it’s not prudent or indeed fit and proper for him to conduct himself in such a manner when captain of England; especially when the victim is a teammate.

So to Rio Ferdinand, who Fabio Capello laconically awarded the Captain’s armband by dint of him being Vice-captain. No appraisal or glowing public promulgation of his strengths was thought necessary, which makes sense really; as Ferdinand has hardly a squeaky clean past.

In his younger days, he evinced a propensity for partying and women, which was curbed only when he transferred to Manchester United. As a result, he developed into one of the best central defenders in the world, which is a testament to the controlled environment Fergie oversees at Old Trafford, and to the maturation of the man himself.

But the fact he was banned from all football for 7 months for missing a drugs test in 2003 constitutes a big stain on his record. Notably however, in the period of his ban, he embarked upon a litany of charity work and the incident seems to have never – publically anyway – become a point of extreme bitterness for Ferdinand. Which is to his credit. More importantly though, in terms of adultery, he’s blemish free -so far as we know – but it’s interesting that Fergie has thus far overlooked him as a captain of Manchester United.

Of course, Steven Gerrard’s outing as a pugilist with little propensity for discretion made it unlikely he would ever be considered for the role – particularly in the wake of Terry’s demise. The fact that Capello has taken the decision to sack Terry as captain sets the precedent that there is a relative moral standard that the FA wish to uphold; to appoint Steven Gerrard would have been PR suicide. Even though, as a footballer, Gerrard is a spectacular candidate.

Even Goldenballs himself, David Beckham, was found guilty of cheating on his wife in the past (Editor: allegations were never proven). Which, alongside the fact that he has been captain, and is highly unlikely to make the first team, meant he would not have been considered. Elsewhere, Rooney’s temperament and dabbling with prostitutes of the older variety would have left the FA open to accusations of double standards.

Frank Lampard is a model professional and living testament to what hard work and dedication can acheive – principles a captain should represent – but, probably because he lives under the shadow of John Terry at Chelsea, has never been considered for the role, which is a shame.

Going forward, it’s interesting to speculate how the locker room dynamics of the England team will develop – particularly in the heat of a World Cup. As a footballer, John Terry has carved himself a reputation as a blood and thunder defensive stalwart, and mentally, his current adversity may well spur him on to great things. The mind of the man will likely visualise scoring in a World Cup final as the perfect riposte to his detractors and anyone who has spewed invective in the tabloids and broadsheets. We just have to hope that any ill-feeling between England’s players and John Terry does not metastasize into full blown resentment.

In truth, Wayne Bridge’s form as a left back does not warrant a place in the current England squad; Stephen Warnock, of Aston Villa, has been a far better performer this year. But Bridge is capable, and if he does pick it up in the latter part of the season, it will be interesting to see what happens. He must surely realise, that opposing fans will mock him just as much as they are going to mock Terry, and how he deals with that will make or break his season.

In any case, soothing relations between the two will be the job of new captain Rio Ferdinand. Good luck to him.

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