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Feb, 3, 2012

Gerrard heads England captains' club

Steven Gerrard will head a rota of senior England internationals who will form a 'captaincy club' under Fabio Capello, ESPNsoccernet can reveal.

• Terry stripped of England captaincy

For the first time in English football history, an England manager will opt for a rota system, very similar to that used in Italian football, where the most senior star will lead out the England team in succession to John Terry.

Wayne Rooney would have been considered but he is suspended for the opening two Euro group games. Prior to his ruling himself out, Rio Ferdinand might also have been included but his selection is in severe doubt, while Ashley Cole has made it known to Fabio Capello that he would prefer to avoid the intense scrutiny the captain's armband brings.

That leaves Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry, Glen Johnson and Scott Parker as players likely to wear the armband at some stage up to and including the Euros, depending on their fitness and the England manager's selection plans.

ESPNsoccernet can also reveal that Terry will be selected for the England squad for the Euros, despite the problems that occurred the last time he was stripped of the captaincy prior to a major tournament, when he led a mini-rebellion at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

A source close to Capello told ESPNsoccernet: "An England squad will be selected next week and is sure to include Steven Gerrard, which means he is most likely to be named captain for that game but, of course, there is no guarantee that he will be fit at the end of the month when the game is played.

"There is no guarantee, either, that Rio Ferdinand will be selected, he hasn't been for the last two or three squads and is lacking that level of fitness that made him an automatic choice of the past.

"There is no doubt that Fabio will respect the senior players, so Frank Lampard would be an England captain, so too would Gareth Barry, Wayne Rooney might even be considered but he is suspended for the start of the tournament, while Ashley Cole doesn't like the pressure of being captain.

"Glen Johnson is experienced, and now so too is Scott Parker, and Parker would be a possible solution depending if he is involved, if Barry isn't. In Italy it is not compulsory that the most senior player with the most caps is made the captain, but it is that the senior players are respected, and that is the way Fabio will look at it."

While Gerrard will be recognised and named as England captain once the squad is together, though only if he is fit to play, Capello will not make a total commitment to the armband because so many senior stars have been carrying long-term injuries and cannot be guaranteed to even make it to this summer's tournament.

As for Terry's place in the squad being jeopordised by the second stripping of the captaincy, Capello won't see it like that, even though it caused problems at the World Cup.

The source added: "The manager doesn't have to solve the problem of John Terry. There was not a problem of Gerrard being captain at the World Cup, only a problem that John Terry wasn't. But Fabio wants the best team there and took the captaincy from JT last time to take the pressure from him."

This time it is the decision of the FA and not the manager. That was made clear when the source added: "Fabio's view is that everybody is innocent until proven guilty."

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