Thursday 26 April 2018

Diego Maradona claims John Terry row was 'excuse' for FA to get rid of Fabio Capello

Diego Maradona. Photo: Getty Images
Diego Maradona. Photo: Getty Images

DIEGO Maradona claimed on Thursday night that the Football Association had fired Fabio Capello for incompetence

In an impassioned outburst, the Argentina legend alleged that the FA had been seeking to sack Capello for a long time and used the row over John Terry’s England captaincy as a convenient pretext to do so.

"As far as the situation with Capello is concerned, what we heard initially was about Terry," said Maradona, now managing Dubai-based club Al-Wasl.

"This is what the English FA was saying. But of course, this is not the real reason. It is clear the FA was looking to fire him. They wanted an excuse to do that.

"They weren’t happy with his performance. Any coach who doesn’t perform at the level expected, especially at the World Cup, is one whom they immediately look to replace."

Maradona was himself removed as Argentina head coach after failing to guide his country beyond the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"They had been looking to replace him for a long time, and Terry came at exactly the right time. It all comes down to Capello not performing to their expectations.

"The English FA can say whatever they want, but they will not fool me. I know exactly why Fabio Capello was fired, and it has nothing to do with John Terry."

As for whether he would be interested in succeeding Capello, who resigned from the England post on Wednesday night, Maradona replied with a smile: "Absolutely not."

Back in England, Alan Pardew on Thursday took a swipe at Capello for ignoring clubs in the north as he urged the FA to appoint Harry Redknapp as his successor.

The Newcastle manager quickly ruled himself out of the running to succeed the Italian, and also dismissed suggestions he might be interested in replacing Redknapp at Spurs if, as expected, the Tottenham manager is chosen to take control of the national side.

Pardew was struggling to convince people he was the right man to lead Newcastle 12 months ago and does not feel he has the necessary experience to be considered for the biggest job in the country.

Despite opting out of the running, Pardew has robust opinions on what the England job entails and he criticised Capello for failing to travel to the North-East.

The former Real Madrid and Roma coach had not visited St James’ Park or the Stadium of Light since August 2009 and even advised former Sunderland striker, Darren Bent, to leave to further his international ambitions.

"If you’re an England manager from this country, you should understand the need to come to these places and that certain things need to be done," said Pardew.

"He should have been up here in my opinion. There aren’t that many grounds and as England manager you don’t have a workload that means you can’t get to them at some stage in a season. I expect to see the new England manager here.

"I do hope they go for an Englishman, just on a personal level.

"I think that is important this time and really hope that Harry [Redknapp], Spurs and everybody sorts themselves out and can do it in a manner when it works for everybody."

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