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Stewart Coggin

Capello Wields the Axe

By February 6, 2010

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England coach Fabio Capello is not a man to shirk his responsibilities, never afraid to make tough decisions.

His sacking of John Terry as England captain after allegations of an affair with Wayne Bridge's ex-partner was a timely reminder that he remains the sergente di ferro (iron sergeant), as he became known in Italy.

Friday's meeting with Terry apparently took just 12 minutes. Capello's mind was made up, the verdict delivered swiftly.

The team is what matters to Capello. The Italian has made it clear he has little time for the WAG (wives and girlfriends) culture and the excesses of England's players.

He remains a single-minded individual with strong principles. Alessandro del Piero, Francesco Totti, Antonio Cassano and David Beckham are among the players Capello has fallen out with, even dropping the latter from the Real Madrid team for several weeks when it became clear he would be moving to LA Galaxy.

This, however, was not an exercise in showing who's boss. Terry says he "respects" Capello's decision, and there is a general opinion among many critics in England that this was the only way forward.

The Chelsea captain has never been loved by the public, his lack of respect towards referees and strong-arm tactics on the field endearing him to few but Blues supporters. His obscene weekly wage is another bone of contention for those who believe him to be a competent player and nothing more.

Money has not bought Terry class in this instance. This could infact be a very costly affair indeed, with the London-born defender standing to lose up to US$7.8 million in sponsorship deals. Few will have much sympathy where this is concerned.

The sacking is unlikely to diminish his influence on the pitch and he will remain a strong voice in the team. William Gallas was stripped of the Arsenal captaincy in November 2008 after criticizing his team-mates, and since then his form has been excellent.

Don't expect this to affect Terry's performances, but had he carried on as captain, his position would surely have been undermined, with further tabloid allegations in the coming months far from out of the question. His ability to motivate those around him when under so much pressure outside the game would have been severally tested, as would theircapacity to take him seriously.

Rio Ferdinand is Capello's choice to succeed Terry as captain, and I find this a little puzzling given the defender's wretched form at times this season, coupled with an increasing susceptibility to injuries.

Photo Getty Images

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