Terry not only revealed the fact of a meeting between players and coaching staff taking place Sunday evening, but he was also heard to utter the words “so what” in relation to whether the feelings of certain players may upset Capello. To stand in such opposition to your manager during a high profile tournament is staggering and may do little for the rest of Terry’s England career in the long run. Some may feel the fact the players were having an emergency meeting with Capello is something that should be kept private. If it is really necessary to inform the press of this it should be the job of the captain, Steven Gerrard and not an individual who was so unceremoniously stripped of the armband. Reportedly it was not only the England coaching staff who will have reacted to Terry’s comments with the noise within the camp being that certain members of the squad do not echo the Chelsea man’s sentiments and were left aggrieved at his decision to speak on their behalf.
Terry is a player who is used to being able to voice his opinions to the hierarchy of his club side, Chelsea. He is their talismanic captain and is viewed as the heartbeat of the team. Consequently he carries much sway with the likes of owner Roman Abramovich. For England it is not the same and Terry would do well to remember that. Following his highly publicised off-field problems not only causing a rift within the squad but reducing a player to stop playing for his country, he has occupied a tenuous position in the eyes of Capello.
Reportedly Terry is an unpopular figure with the England coaching staff and if the Three Lions were to have more genuine quality in that area of the pitch he may have fallen foul of Capello’s poor toleration of ill-discipline and been dropped. The fact of the matter, however, is he represents one of England’s real top-class performers and is an important factor in the spine of the team. He is a player who is just coming off the back of lifting both the Premier League and the FA Cup and has captained a side in the final of the Champions League. These are credentials which put him alongside some of the top players in the world game. Furthermore following the public criticism of the England players by press and fans alike after the match against Algeria, Terry is one of the only players not to come under scrutiny.
Following the disastrous nature of the draw in Cape Town the mentality of the England players has been in sharp focus with even Capello stating he felt his players were feeling the pressure. In some quarters this has been attributed to the players playing with fear. This simply does not apply to Terry. He is one of the only players in the squad who can handle the pressure and who goes into any match without fear. If it wasn’t due to his much publicised problems Terry would be the ideal man for the captain’s role. This is a sentiment echoed by the player himself and was one which he felt necessary to mention in Sunday’s press conference in stating he does nothing differently to when he was captain and he will never change. This is undoubtedly something which England need on the pitch if they are to progress in this World Cup. However, this is not something which they need off the pitch as comments such as the ones made on Sunday only highlight the problems in the camp and do nothing for the morale of the squad.
Reportedly Capello retained his authority by conducting the meeting in a one-sided manner – although he did relent on naming his starting XI earlier – which puts the senselessness of Terry’s comments in context. The constant assurance by Terry he was there on behalf of the players seemed more an assurance to himself he was still the leader of the squad and his public outburst was done to simply to prove this point. If he really feels this necessary to prove himself he has to look no further than a leader’s performance on the pitch against Slovenia putting himself in the media spotlight this time for the right reasons.