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Nov 3, 2011

Capello waits on FA verdict

Fabio Capello will leave John Terry out of his England squad to face Spain and Sweden if the Football Association advises him to do so, while Rio Ferdinand has been put on standby to replace him.

• Rodwell, Sturridge in contention

• Chelsea pledge action on chants
• Police launch probe into Terry

It is the latest twist to the racism scandal involving the England captain and Rio's brother Anton.

Both John Terry and Rio Ferdinand have been included in the provisional squad for the two upcoming international friendlies, but it is inconceivable right now that both could be in the party which will meet up at London Colney next week.

Capello will announce his squad for the games on Sunday evening after the weekend's Premier League fixtures have been completed.

An ESPNsoccernet source close to Capello has been told that the England manager will seek guidance from the FA on whether to select his captain, who is now the subject of a police enquiry.

The same source revealed that Ferdinand, who has not played for England since June's 2-2 draw with Switzerland at Wembley, will be named in the provisional squad.

Capello watched Ferdinand in the Champions League tie against Otelul Galati at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, during which he wore a 'United Against Racism' armband, and plans to discuss the player's form and fitness with Sir Alex Ferguson on Thursday evening at a dinner to celebrate the manager's 25 years in charge.

Ferguson said this week that Ferdinand has lost a yard of pace that he had five years ago, but can adapt his game and still stay at the top, and Capello concurs with that view. He seems set to select Ferdinand to add some experience to the group of young players who will come into the side.

With regards to Terry's precarious position as England captain and his likely omission, the England source said: "This really has become an issue for the FA rather than for Fabio. The problem is that if Fabio does not select John Terry it is a punishment now before the enquiries have run their course, and before any evidence has been examined.

"It is innocent and until proven guilty in Italy as it is in England, and as yet John Terry has not been found guilty of anything.

"However, if he is proven guilty then that will be the time for Fabio to decide whether to punish him by not selecting him or by deciding on the captaincy.

"Right now, it is a difficult situation and not one that Fabio should be taking, but a matter for the FA to decide. The FA needs to tell Fabio what is best to do, and there will be talks shortly, as the provisional squad is being selected."

For now both Terry and Rio Ferdinand are in the England provisional squad together, but that appears likely to change.

On the issue of Rio Ferdinand's selection, the source said: "Fabio went to see him the Champions League. He will check again with his scouts and see how he is three or four days later.

"Yes, he went there to see Rio play and now he will have an opportunity to speak with Sir Alex Ferguson as Fabio is going to his dinner and that will give him the chance to discuss Rio more fully."

Chelsea refused to allow questions about the police investigation at their pre-match press conference this afternoon - and also those about whether Terry would be selected for England - as they did not want to prejudice proceedings.

But they will continue to pick their captain themselves, with the defender looking set to return for the club's Premier League trip to Blackburn on Saturday.

Manager Andre Villas-Boas, who insisted Terry had not been distracted by recent events and was in the right frame of mind to continue playing, said: ``I think John has been involved on all our Premier League games. He's our captain, one of the best defenders in the world, and his talent is unquestionable. So, with the talent he is, he's always up for selection.''

• Harry Harris' new book: 19: The Remarkable Story of United's League Championship Record is available now.

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