With the topic of the skipper proving to be somewhat of a circus in the build-up to the Cardiff clash, it was pleasing to see none of this attention had a negative effect on the players’ performance. It was an efficient, if unspectacular display from England but crucially, Capello’s men left the Welsh capital with three points.
Terry’s personal performance was polished and professional. Many suggested he would be looking to leave his mark on Craig Bellamy – the Welshman having spoken out following the revelations regarding Terry’s private life last year. The England skipper didn’t snatch the bait however, instead praising Bellamy in his pre-match comments and was certainly not overzealous in his marking and restricting Bellamy’s threat throughout the game.
The Chelsea stalwart’s performance was one of maturity – one that England fans should be excited about. Perhaps we are now seeing the positive side of Terry’s character. He was vilified last week over the captaincy issue, but we forget that he did not ask for the armband back. This may not excuse his previous conduct but should we punish him for accepting the Capello’s concession? He has conducted himself with respect this week and we should all look on this with some degree of admiration. This writer maintains that for however long Terry may hold the armband, England will be in fine hands with a strong leader.
Looking ahead to the Ghana clash, the Three Lions will have a new captain following the release of Terry amongst others from the squad. Who the new skipper will be remains unclear although it seems unlikely to be any of Saturday’s starters as Capello hints towards a radical change in his starting line up – not through necessity one suspects given his delight with the 4-3-3 formation.
Gareth Barry could be an ideal candidate for the temporary position. The Manchester City midfielder has shown his leadership credentials in the past having held the armband during his Villa Park career, as well as briefly taking on the role during the friendly victory in Denmark last month. If Capello can resist wholesale changes, Scott Parker would also be a fine selection. The West Ham midfielder has shown himself to be Mr Dependable at Upton Park this season with a string of fine performances.
The truth is that whoever leads the team out at Wembley will most likely hold the position for just the one friendly, but what we can take from the time the squad has been together on this occasion is that we still have a dependable leader in John Terry. As Jose Mourinho noted last week, we are also in the privileged position of having a host of fine candidates waiting in the wings.