Capello fury as Terry put in his place after 'big mistake' England coup
FABIO CAPELLO delivered a swift and devastating response to John Terry's putative challenge to his leadership last night, describing it as a "a very big mistake", accusing the Chelsea captain of showing a lack of respect for his team-mates and suggesting he had also "disappointed" some of them.
Capello's move to assert his authority also included the cool observation that no player had challenged him at the Sunday team meeting at which Terry had suggested he would.
"I read yesterday that John Terry said this," Capello said. "I don't understand why he doesn't speak with me. You have to speak privately. This is the big mistake; this is very big mistake."
Terry had been warned before the meeting that following through on his promise would be ill-advised and did not speak.
The England manager also observed that "one player is not so important compared to all the other players; the group is more important than one player".
His obvious distaste for Terry's attempts to position himself into a self-appointed team leader, ahead of tomorrow's crucial match with Slovenia, raise doubts about whether Terry will even be a part of the England side after South Africa.
Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher are understood to be among those players dismayed by Terry's inference that he was speaking for them in wanting to challenge Capello's methods.
Capello's task is now to restore order and have Terry in the right frame of mind, though the impression of unhappiness in the ranks deepened yesterday when Alex Ferguson said he had been so concerned by word of Wayne Rooney's unhappiness that he contacted him before the Algeria game and urged him to relax.
"Sometimes the expectation can be debilitating in terms of getting the players to perform to the levels required to get through this group," Ferguson said. "I had that feeling. I spoke to Wayne Rooney last week and just said, 'relax and enjoy it'."
The England manager acknowledged that the squad is not universally happy. "Probably one or two are not happy but the majority are happy," he said.
He censured Terry for suggesting that Joe Cole and Rooney were "the only two who can open up defences." "Joe Cole is one of the 23 players who are here," Capello said.
Capello, who has said there will be "one or two changes" from Algeria, has dispensed with one of his conventions by revealing that Matthew Upson will start instead of the suspended Jamie Carragher tomorrow while he is believed to be making Aaron Lennon a casualty after a poor display on Friday. (© Independent News Service)