John Terry says he can 'handle' the jeers
John Terry on Wednesday night said that he could "handle" the jeers of England supporters after he was inevitably booed on his first game for his country at Wembley after being stripped of the captaincy.
Fabio Capello and stand-in captain Steven Gerrard both paid tribute to what they termed Terry’s “fantastic” display with the defender himself adding: “There were a few jeers but I can handle that. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.”
Terry appeared nervous, and hesitant, in the first-half but Capello was forthright in his defence of the player — and even claimed the 80,000 plus crowd had been supportive.
“I’m really happy and thank you to the crowd,” the England manager said, “because they supported the team and John Terry.
"This was one of the most important games for him after the history of what happened off the pitch. He played a fantastic game, like I know he plays always at his level.”
Terry will draw comfort, however, from Capello’s response with the manager acknowledging that he had displayed his importance to the team. “Yes, yes,” Capello said. “When I choose him like captain, I knew the value of this player because he’s really important on the pitch.”
Gerrard added of Terry: “I think he handled things very well and was fantastic. He’s a leader. John was superb.”
Capello also acknowledged the importance of Peter Crouch who scored two second-half goals after coming on as a substitute for Jermain Defoe who had missed two good opportunities to score in the first period.
“Crouch is one of the most important players,” he said. “I’ve selected him a lot, he’s played a lot of games for me, and he’s in very good form. Crouch is a big option for me because sometimes you can play long ball. But today we didn’t, and he played very well with one touch, two touches. In the second-half he made the difference.
“But you have to understand that, when I select a squad, I always say that all the players can play. Today I wanted to understand what happens with Defoe and Rooney in the first-half. I know what happens when Rooney plays with Crouch, with Carlton Cole or Heskey. I know that. For that reason, today it was better (to start with Defoe) in preparation for the World Cup.
To know whether these two can play together.” Capello also singled out Shaun Wright-Phillips, another substitute, for praise. “He was really important because the assists he made were really important.”
The manager admitted he was less happy with his team’s first-half display, when his players “made some mistakes”, even though they also created chances then. “I said to the players to press more, to win the ball back quickly and in the second-half we did that,” Capello added.