With another major tournament fast approaching, England’s preparations are once again engrossed in turmoil.
After their nightmare in South Africa two summers ago, the general consensus was that England needed to change the way they approached the international scene. With players seemingly unfit (Rooney) or not of the level required (too many to name), the 2010 World Cup provided the nation with nothing more than another embarrassing episode to add to an ever growing catalogue. With the European championships in Ukraine on the horizon, are England in serious threat of suffering even more at the hands of the continent’s finest?
Whilst Spain endure the headache of picking between Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas, England were greeted with news of another setback to Jack Wilshere’s recovery. The Arsenal maestro was an integral figure during the qualifiers and with question marks still over the fitness of midfield partner Steven Gerrard, England’s starting XI remains anybody’s guess.
However, matters got worse on Thursday as captain John Terry was stripped of his duties, providing manager Fabio Capello with yet another unresolved issue in the lead up to the summer. Terry’s alleged misdemeanour was simply too serious to ignore and with past discretions taken into account, you have to wonder why the 31 year old was reinstated in the first place.
Now England find themselves not only scrambling for the right formula for the side, but also the awkward position of having to pick a leader only 4 months before the opening game against the French.
One has to wonder about the morale of the squad in the midst of the ongoing Terry case this year. Whilst Anton Ferdinand is hardly an important figure within the camp, his brother Rio Ferdinand still is. The Manchester United defender has already rejected the idea of reassuming his role as captain, which admittedly has as much to do with his inability to force his way back into the international scene as much as anything else.
But the defender is a popular figure amongst the country’s elite, with many of his teammates expected to be on the plane come June. Rio was usurped of his role at the expense of Terry, and with the inevitable fall-out from his brother’s claims likely to have filtered through to most of the squad, is the unpopular Chelsea skipper really worth the hassle?
Terry epitomises all that has been wrong with England’s fading stars over the past ten years. Though committed and battle hard on the pitch, off it he is disruptive and complacent. You get the impression previous successes have hindered rather than enhanced his mentality, with a self assured nature perhaps too often confused with self importance.
Though it would take an enormous slice of bravery for Capello to even consider, Terry should not only be axed from the captaincy but from England scene entirely. His form has been patchy at best and with Phil Jones proving more than capable in his preferred central position, England should look to promote a more youthful side for the forthcoming championships.
With the level headed (and hopefully fit) Steven Gerrard leading the team out, England might just be able to restore some lost pride this year.
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