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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

50-50 Challenge
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By ESPN Staff

Terry a 'fantastic choice' for England skipper

Former England defender Phil Thompson has hailed the appointment of John Terry and Steven Gerrard as England captain and vice captain as 'a wonderful decision'.

Chelsea skipper Terry has been chosen by new England boss Steve McClaren to succeed Real Madrid midfielder David Beckham.

And former Liverpool captain Thompson told Sky Sports News: 'It will be great, John and Steve have been together (with England) for a long time. The pair of them, with such a high-profile position, need to share the role.

'I don't think Steve McClaren can go far wrong with these players of immense character. The biggest thing about this is the team and the influence they are going to have on the team.

'To have John as captain and Steve as vice captain is a wonderful decision. It will take their games up a notch,' he said.

'Steven's been a wonderful influence at Liverpool. You pick a captain because they can have an influence on a team, that's why I thought Steve would edge it over John Terry.

'John is still a fantastic choice, I've no problems with that.'

Former England captain David Platt, who won 62 caps, continued on Sky Sports News: 'John's an intelligent player and has grown as a person in the last few years.

'I think he'll step into the role quite easily but whoever wears the armband, other players don't change the game.

'International players all have big egos and whoever has the armband needs to have immediate respect, and also has to be brave enough to take people's opinions on board.

'When I was captain I had club captains playing with me - people like Tony Adams, Stuart Pearce and Alan Shearer - they were vociferous and all had opinions.

'It makes the job easier knowing you are surrounded by leaders and he will find a very useful ally in Steven Gerrard.'

Platt continued: 'The media scrummage is immense now and as a result I think the captain has the responsibility to give the media what they want, to a certain extent.

'David Beckham grew into that role and John has got to learn it very, very quickly.

'Steven will bring dynamism, power and exception playing ability.

'Captains lead by example and I think he would be one of those people.

'He's similar to David Beckham, he'll grab the game by the scruff of the neck and the team with him.'

Platt added: 'You couldn't really split the two.

'My personal preference would be to go with John but it doesn't surprise me that John's gone to trouble of naming a vice-captain - it shows the pair of them are held in high regard.

'I think it's the right step to name it early. It's out of the way now and we can concentrate on qualifying for the 2008 European Championships.'

Former England skipper Bryan Robson, the current West Brom manager, said: 'John will make a great England captain. He possesses all the leadership qualities needed to be a skipper.

'He leads by example and both organises and demands from the players around him. He is the ideal man to lead England's Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.'