ENGLAND manager Fabio Capello is faced with a fresh captaincy conundrum ahead of tomorrow’s friendly against Ghana after he agreed to release five senior players from his squad, including reinstated permanent skipper John Terry.
The Chelsea defender, along with his club colleagues, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, have been granted a break, as have Wayne Rooney and Michael Dawson, with their hectic domestic and European schedule in mind.
Capello may have thought he’d put the captaincy issue to bed last week with Terry’s reappointment, but after admitting to not enjoying “seeing the armband passed about” the Italian must select his next captain, from a largely inexperienced group of players, carefully.
Gareth Barry is the favourite to wear the armband, but the Manchester City midfielder’s recent loss of form, coupled with Scott Parker’s emergence, means he is no longer guaranteed to start.
Jack Wilshere, impressive in a new midfield formation during Saturday’s straightforward 2-0 win in Wales, has been mentioned as a potential England captain by Capello himself, but at only 19 years of age the manager may wish not to burden the Arsenal midfielder with even more responsibility.
Steven Gerrard, also overlooked for the captaincy in favour of Terry and currently injured, has revealed Capello spoke to him regarding his change of captain, despite not informing Rio Ferdinand.
“I did actually get a call,” he said. “The manager spoke to me. He spoke to me and just explained what he’d been doing; he didn’t have to.”
Meanwhile, Club England managing director Adrian Bevington, expects that Capello will attempt to calm the waters between himself and Rio Ferdinand, who is understood to have been aggrieved at losing the captaincy.
Bevington said: “I believe, that maybe the communication could have been better and he expressed some regrets. I look forward to seeing Rio again in an England shirt – and I’m sure Fabio will pick up with Rio soon after these internationals.”
TOP OF THE CLASS: WHO SHONE FOR ENGLAND IN CARDIFF?
Darren Bent: Three important goals in three games for the striker suggests his happy knack of being in the right place at the right time for his club will extend to the international scene.
Ashley Young: The Villa winger supplied the assists for both goals and his intelligent movement off the flanks hinted at the extra touch of versatility he has added to his game this season.
Scott Parker: Playing the best football of his career by his own admission. Adding extra energy to the engine room in place of Gareth Barry and looks set to make up for lost time in an England shirt at long last.
Jack Wilshere: Was fractionally off with his final ball on a couple of occasions, but that’s nit picking. Provides industry and genuine flair in equal measure. For once, the hype is fully justified.