Though the official reason for Fabio Capello’s appearance at the Warsaw’s Palace of Culture and Science last weekend was for the Euro 2012 qualifying draw, the Italian will have known all the questions aimed at him by the media will have been about one thing – John Terry.
It has become a headline-grabbing, newspaper-selling frenzy and the whole sordid affair had threatened to rip the England team apart, with the press gleefully fanning the flames.
It is ironic that the media run with such stories when they are clearly damaging to the team, yet they will also be the first to criticise them when they fail to reach their lofty targets.
Capello appeared bemused at the scale of the media frenzy surrounding the issue – he was visibly startled when he landed at Heathrow Airport earlier this week and was immediately surrounded by microphones and cameras.
But, as is the former Milan boss’s style, he refused to be dragged into a drawn out debate. A 12 minute meeting with Terry and a phone call by assistant Francesco Baldini to Rio Ferdinand and it was done. Terry returned to the rank and file while Ferdinand stepped up from the position of vice-captain. Short, sharp, and to the point.
Speaking in Warsaw, where England were handed matches against Wales, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Montenegro in Group G, Capello said: “When I was made England manager I decided on the captain, the vice-captain and the third captain. Everyone knows this. It has been a normal week for me. I spoke with John Terry – everyone knows why – but it was a private conversation. [The issue] is now all over, it is finished.”
It is that kind of ruthless pragmatism England need ahead of the 2010 Football World Cup. Capello won’t let media or fan hysteria get in the way of his main aim, to lead England to World Cup glory.
There will be more headlines to come, I’m sure. But in taking decisive action Capello has at least stemmed the flow of bad publicity and given everyone a reason to move on.
Hopefully some wounds can be healed in time for England’s next match against Egypt, and for the massive summer ahead.
The football betting makes England among the favourites for the World Cup and they will need to work hard to live up to this billing.