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Mar 16, 2011

Terry captain for one game only

John Terry will captain England against Wales but ESPNsoccernet has learned of an astonishing misunderstanding which has led to the media storm surrounding who will be the skipper full-time.

• Terry to resume captaincy?
• Johnson: Capello digs deeper hole
• Rio misses out for England

Since a press briefing at the weekend there has been confusion over who is Fabio Capello's captain. Rio Ferdinand is officially skipper, though he has played in only four of the 13 internationals since taking on the job from Terry.

With Ferdinand also unfit for the game in Cardiff on March 26, along with Steven Gerrard, who captained the team in South Africa, Capello was asked who would wear the armband.

But it now appears Capello's understanding of the word 'permanent' had led reporters to the wrong conclusion. The captain's role has not been handed to Terry on a permanent basis, with Italian coach Capello not fully understanding the meaning of the word.

Effectively Terry is on trial, as although Capello is open minded about retaining Ferdinand he is worried about his injury problems.

ESPNsoccernet spent Tuesday unravelling it all, and has spoken to a Football Association insider who explained the whole sorry mess, which it insists is as much the making of a media agenda against Capello as it is his lack of understanding of English.

"Fabio is attracting huge amounts of criticism, and there is little to nothing we can do about that, as people will criticise no matter what happens," a source revealed. "Yes, there has been confusion. But to clarify it all, Fabio has been talking only about the Wales game.

"He doesn't have a captain, as Rio Ferdinand is injured, and now Gerrard is injured. It is a typical English game, which requires a strong leader and for this reason he has chosen Terry to captain the team against Wales, having thought that he has been punished long enough and it was not fair the armband was handed around in the last match.

"But Fabio has been put under pressure to decide now if Terry is the permanent captain. He has been asked in every conceivable way, and when journalists recorded him in the final 10 minutes of his briefing with the media, he was asked this question again many times.

"Finally he was asked if it was permanent, and he said 'yes, it is'. But he meant his decision to give Terry the captaincy against Wales was 'permanent', that he was not going to change his mind tomorrow about that. He did not mean permanent, as in the real meaning of the word. It is true Fabio created the confusion with that answer.

"But I hope I have clarified the situation. John Terry captains the team against Wales, and then Fabio will take it from there.

"A discussion took place with Rio Ferdinand, and it was said that Fabio would see him at Old Trafford, but they did not see each other, Rio was not in that area of the ground. But Rio is a sensible guy and the situation has been explained to him."

Capello will study the dynamic in the dressing room, and how Terry performs, and then it will be a question of Ferdinand's fitness. It might yet be something that the England manager has to make a decision on in the long term.

But first England need a result against Wales, and Capello is determined that the match, and not the captaincy, will be the focus of his attention.

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