Chelsea FC defender John Terry has been reinstated as England's permanent captain more than a year after being stripped of the armband by coach Fabio Capello. Rio Ferdinand had skippered the side following Terry's demotion, which came as the result of series of tabloid stories claiming that Terry had been having an affair with an ex-teammate's ex-girlfriend, claims which have been disputed by both parties. Nevertheless, the allegations were serious enough for Terry to be made an example of, with Capello insisting that Terry would never again lead out his country - but now, more than thirteen months later, something has changed his mind.
Despite a poor World Cup, Terry has been exceptional again for Chelsea this season, and with the rest of Carlo Ancelotti's being shuffled in and out of the side it's impossible to claim that he's being covered for by the likes of Branislav Ivanovic and Alex. With Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard's injuries rending them more or less incapable of leading England on a consistent basis, Capello has once again turned to the Chelsea man, whom he considers the natural leader of the side anyway.
Is this a wise move by Capello? He's certainly alienated Rio Ferdinand here - the Manchester United centre back is a fine player, by all accounts a good leader, and had the benefit of being captain already, but that's apparently counted for nothing after picking up a calf injury that's left his season in doubt. Various reports have Ferdinand seething at the news, although if he's out for the rest of the season his opinion in camp will be rather meaningless. Steven Gerrard, can probably have less complaints after an erratic, injury-hit season, but as vice-captain must surely also have had some hope that he'd be wearing the armband rather than Terry.
Push came to shove, apparently, when Frank Lampard skippered England onto the field at Copenhagen. Being overlooked to lead the country over a club subordinate was presumably painful for Terry, but it got worse as the captaincy passed from Lampard to Manchester City's Gareth Barry then to Ashley Cole. Terry was visibly upset at being snubbed - he later described it as 'taking the piss', and Capello announced that he'd be making a decision on the permanent captaincy within a few weeks in response. It appears that Capello's word choice was an accident, but forced his hand, according to new quotes from the England manager regarding the situation via the Telegraph:
I decided John Terry would be the captain for this game because after the game in Copenhagen, the way the armband was moved around was upsetting for him.
He was my first choice when I decided on the permanent captain. I had spoken with the doctors of Manchester United and Liverpool and I knew that Rio and Steven Gerrard] were injured. I wanted to announce my decision the day before the game because I wanted to speak with the players, I wanted to speak with John Terry.
But the word ’permanent’ decided everything. After what happened, I decided that John Terry, after one year of punishment, will be the permanent captain.
England, of course, is the only national team in the world that takes the captaincy so seriously. Various countries automatically hand it to the player with the most international caps, but it's different in England and people are going to talk about it. Last year's chaos was a distraction that nobody really needed, and it's entirely possible that a similar situation happens in the England camp this year.
As Chelsea fans, of course, it's great to have one of our own have the honour of captaining the country. I don't believe Terry ever did anything that warranted being stripped of the armband anyway, so to me this seems like a return to normality after a long period of injustice. Knowing Terry, he'll have used the snub as a motivation to play even better for the team, but I doubt being reinstated will have any effect on his play for the club. England captain or not, Terry is Terry - but it's great to see him back in Capello's good graces.