Farce as Capello backtracks over captaincy
Published 23:01 15/03/11 By Martin Lipton
The England captaincy was plunged into farce and confusion last night as Fabio Capello told Rio Ferdinand the Manchester United defender STILL has the armband after all.
Ferdinand was left angered and infuriated by Capello’s clear signal that he would be asked to relinquish the captaincy back to John Terry , 13 months after the Chelsea skipper was stripped of the role.
But last night Capello and his entourage were insistent that the Italian MEANT to suggest Terry would purely lead England against Wales and Ghana later this month and that Ferdinand remained, for now, the first-choice skipper.
The ridiculous change of stance came amid hints from Ferdinand’s associates that the Old Trafford star - who has only captained England in four of the 11 games since being formally confirmed as Terry’s successor - was deeply upset at the course of events.
Ferdinand had been told by Capello’s chief lieutenant, Franco Baldini, over the weekend that the switch to Terry was only temporary, a line that was blown out of the water by the manager’s on-the-record statements on Monday.
Yet last night the position had changed again, with Baldini understood to have again been the conduit for passing information to the United man.
Capello elected not to speak with Ferdinand at Old Trafford last night before United’s Champions League tie with Marseille, but was said to want to stress Terry was captain only for the next two internationals.
A decision on who would be confirmed as full-time skipper would only be taken when all the senior players were available, ahead of the final Euro 2012 qualifier of the season against Switzerland in June, but that Terry was now considered, once more, as a viable candidate.
It was a cop-out position, with Capello seemingly wanting to back away publicly from a decision he has already taken.
Ferdinand was keeping his head down last night, not taking his expected place in the Old Trafford directors box at the start of the game.
A source close to the player said: “Rio is fine and just wants to focus on getting fit for United. There’s no more to say or will be said.”