England Football coach Fabio Capello said when he stripped John Terry of the England Captain’s armband that there would be no way back and that he would not assume the captaincy again.
All that has changed though, and John Terry has been re-instated in place of Rio Ferdinand, just 12 months after he was discarded. Many are saying that the move makes no sense at all. However the lack of leadership amongst the England team at the World Cup Finals showed that captaincy is a special gift. It is not a mantle that sits easily with everyone. Steven Gerrard who replaced the injured Ferdinand as Captain at the World Cup is an outstanding leader for his home city of Liverpool, but he looked like a fish out of water with the top job in the country.
The big question is how this switch back to Terry will affect the players, especially those loyal to Rio Ferdinand? Despite all donning the England shirt international teams can be extremely factional, as was the case in the 1980’s when those not in the Liverpool side during their heyday, were very anti their Liverpool team mates.
Rio Ferdinand’s injury woes continue and with doubts over his return to fitness for Manchester United let alone England, maybe it was time to make a decision.
Players should look always look up to the captain. This is a very rare situation where a player stripped of the captaincy has been given it back. The U-turn by Capello however is we believe possibly more damaging to the coach and his authority than it is to Terry. At face value he is both saying that one minute his decision was right and the next it is totally wrong. He could however be trying to send a message to the public that the change was forced upon him by the powers that be at the FA. England’s poor performance at the World Cup maybe justifying his belief that Terry should have remained Captain, and now he is in a position to right the ship, and re-instate his captain.
Many successful teams build their success around the coach and Captain combination; Alf Ramsay and Bobby Moore, Bob Paisley and Emlyn Hughes, Brian Clough and John McGovern, Michael Vaughan and Duncan Fletcher in cricket, Kitch Christie and Francois Pienaar in rugby being another example.
Capello made a lot of errors at the World Cup, errors that the players spoke out about publically. Maybe he feels that he needs a captain he can trust and who will support him. Since the World Cup England has meandered along almost aimlessly, maybe that is why he needs a man like Terry on the pitch. A man not afraid to take control of a game and those around him and lead them to victory in spite of the coach. Maybe John Terry is Fabio Capello’s insurance policy on his job.
If results start to go England’s way and performances improve it could prove a master stroke. If they don’t it will simply be another nail in his coffin.