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Weekend Premier League predictions

Premier League
By ESPN Staff

England skipper bans talk of World Cup finals

John Terry has banished any talk of England going for World Cup glory as he begins his second term as captain of the national side.

Terry has been given the armband by Fabio Capello in preference to Rio Ferdinand - he has been named vice-captain - as he reverts to the role he also held under Steve McClaren for 15 months.

But there will be no bold predictions of what England can achieve in the future from the inspirational Chelsea central defender after the failure to qualify for the Euro 2008 finals.

It will be a deliberate low-key approach after some of the over-the-top claims from players in the past that England could conquer Europe or the world given that reaching quarter-finals has been the best they have achieved since the semi-finals of Euro 96.

Instead the focus will be merely on qualifying for the 2010 finals in Africa.

England have the last chance to hone their skills before the opening qualifiers with Andorra and Croatia, the team that ended their Euro 2008 hopes, in tomorrow's friendly with the Czech Republic at Wembley.

And Terry and his players will be looking to carry out Capello's wishes to play with less anxiety and be able to show more confidence and expression of their skills.

Terry said: 'I'll sit here and say 'we have to qualify for the World Cup' and nothing more. Simple as that.

'I've personally learned a few things from the last campaign and I'll not be talking about winning the World Cup or anything like that.

'I've learned from talking about 'I want to win the Euros' and things like that.

'Let's forget all that stuff. Let's concentrate on qualifying for the World Cup in two years time. It is in the hands of the players to do that.

'We've got the manager and the players to move forward but let's not focus on winning anything. We just need to qualify for this World Cup and have to concentrate on that.'

Capello has seen a gradual improvement in the four matches he has been in charge so far with the players starting to fulfil his wishes in terms of how he wants them to perform.

Terry said: 'In the short of space of time we've had with the manager, he has stressed about having less anxiety and more confidence and we've done that.

'He wants us to express that even more. The manager wants us to play like we do for our clubs week in and week out and that is what he is trying to get across.'

Terry also called on the England fans to give their full backing but recognises the players may have to win them over after the disappointments of the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

He said: 'The future is looking very good for our team with the kind of squad we've got. We need the players to do the job on the pitch to get the fans into their seats.

'The fans are vital - they are the best in the world and we need their support over the next two years. It will be a big part for us. We all know how they can lift the team.'


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