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Aug 19, 2008

Capello sticks with Terry as England skipper

Fabio Capello has retained John Terry as England captain for the international friendly with the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

It was widely expected that Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand would be confirmed in the role, but at a press conference on Tuesday Capello decided to stick with the player who led the side under Steve McClaren.

Terry revealed he was 'shocked' to learn he would keep the armband but Capello underlined the player's 'big personality' was the main reason for his decision.

There had been doubts over Terry's suitability for the role due to his conduct on the pitch and his attitude to match officials, especially in light of the Premier League's new Respect campaign.

However, Terry has long-standing experience wearing the armband with Chelsea while Ferdinand has only been an occasional stand-in for Gary Neville along with Ryan Giggs, although did captain the Red Devils in the Champions League final.

Capello has experimented with a series of skippers in recent international friendlies, including former captain David Beckham, Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard. Terry was given his chance against the United States at Wembley just days after Chelsea's Champions League final heartache and he scored the opening goal of the game.

Gerrard was seemingly discounted at an early stage, leaving a straight battle between Ferdinand and Terry and now the Manchester United man will act as vice captain under Capello.

Terry admitted he had been nervous before he was told of the coach's decision.

'I think everybody realises it means the world to me, to retain the armband,' said Terry. 'To get the armband back is a huge achievement for me.

'It was about an hour ago, just after training. The manager called the whole squad together and told us as a whole. For me to get it above the likes of him (Ferdinand) and the other players in the squad is a great honour.

Terry admitted he was a little surprised when Capello selected him ahead of Ferdinand.

'I'd never given up on the armband and never will do,' he said. 'I'd heard the whispers Rio got the armband so I was a little bit shocked, but I've got to make the most of it. My target now is to qualify for the World Cup and that's the aim going forward.'

Capello revealed Terry's big personality was the deciding factor.

'Rio, when he was captain, played very well - the same level as John,' he said. 'It was not easy for me to choose because they are very good players.

'The big personality of John was the reason I chose John, but Rio is very important to the team.'

Capello revealed the importance he placed on his decision over who should captain England for the World Cup qualifying campaign.

'I think the captain is very important because he is the driver of the team,' explained Capello.

Capello also stressed the importance of the qualifying campaign.

'I think the season just starts for us, for the national team it's a very important season. We have to work and play every game like a final.'

Terry agreed that the focus should be on the qualifying programme after England missed out on Euro 2008.

'We need to concentrate on qualifying for the World Cup and we have got the squad to do that. We just need to do it on the pitch.'

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