England fans have lost confidence in Fabio Capello

John Terry’s one year exile from England captaincy has been described as “a punishment” by his England Head Coach, Fabio Capello. But Terry’s year of punishment following allegations into his personal life has been far outweighed by his manager’s year of punishing blows to his reputation.

It was just over 13 months ago when Terry was stripped of the armband and while the defender has spent that time “quietly going about his business,” Capello has spent it making baffling decisions, making u-turns on his philosophy and showing he still has much to learn in terms of man-management skills. It is all a far cry from the stern, unwavering Coach whose stubbornness and strict approach was a breath of fresh air for a national side on its knees after Steve McClaren’s relaxed approach. The Italian had declared that none of the star names would automatically occupy spots in his side, and that form and fitness would decide the nature of his selection. It was an approach the public and media revelled in, and the astute Italian could do no wrong throughout a near perfect qualifying campaign. Even the decisions many felt were wrong – Emile Heskey’s involvement in the first team for example – were respected for what they were such was Capello’s credibility.

Those were the days when Terry too was respected by all – now both the reputations of the England Head Coach and England captain lay in tatters – hardly the ideal situation for anyone. Although it is easy to see where Terry’s reputation diminishes, Capello’s is an altogether stranger downfall. His handling of the Terry scandal seemed stringent, but since then, he has been suspect to clumsy decisions and comments that have damaged his rein almost beyond the point of repair.

His policy of selecting players in form and fit was cast aside for the World Cup finals as Gareth Barry and Ledley King made the flight despite fitness worries, while Shaun Wright-Phillips and Joe Cole went despite their form suggesting otherwise. He also called up retired Jamie Carragher in a desperate last act, while his ill-conceived Capello index idea was a senseless blunder. Add in the World Cup squad announcement which was leaked through various sources, the World Cup debacle itself, the off-the-cuff retiring of David Beckham and now his lack of personal touch in removing Rio Ferdinand as captain, and Capello just looks like a man waiting for this nightmare to end. His strict approach which cast aside the modern image of mollycoddling footballers was once a source of great power – now it is just rendered aloofness and a lack of class when dealing with his players.

In the 13 months since Terry was last captain of his country, everything has changed, and if England are to launch a genuine challenge for Euro 2012 glory then things need to change again. The Italian’s rein is in danger of petering out into nothingness, as his reputation and credibility remain derided by the watching public. He needs to rebuild the respect he once had – much like his reinstated captain.

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