AFTER TAKING THE decision yesterday to remove John Terry from his role as captain of the international side, the FA is today coming to terms with the prospect of embarking upon a major tournament campaign entirely without the defender’s influential presence at centre-half.
Struggling with the perceived injustice of this most recent demotion – the second of his international tenure – the Chelsea and England defender is thought to be considering retirement from international duty.
Terry is currently awaiting trial for the alleged racial abuse of QPR defender Anton Ferdinand. With proceeding not scheduled to begin until July 9, a full eight days after the final of the European Championships, the FA decided upon the 31-year-old’s demotion as a means of side-stepping public criticism in the build-up to the tournament.
Though an spokesperson for the organisation later insisted that the move was “in no way… [a] suggestion of guilt in relation to the charge made against John Terry”, the defender himself is believed to have been left frustrated by the manner of his abandonment.
Complicating the issue are reports, published in today’s Guardian, that a core group of England veterans have refused cooperation with Terry since the emergence of the allegations. Somewhat surprisingly, Rio Ferdinand, brother of Anton and Terry’s long-term defensive partner at international level, is not thought to have been among them.
Speaking in the immediate wake of the FA’s announcement, Chelsea manager André Villas-Boas gave his club captain a public vote of confidence:
“I have spoken to John. He was disappointed but John is a person of great mental strength and personal convictions. He has to move on. He’s been through a period like this before when he was stripped of the captaincy and he came back to a level of great individual performances.”
One person hoping the Portuguese’s prediction comes to fruition is England manager Fabio Capello. If Terry decides upon retirement, the Italian could be forced to cope with the inconvenience of selecting both a new captain and replacement centre-half in the weeks immediately preceding the European Championships.