ENGLAND boss Fabio Capello says he never contemplated dropping John Terry over his infamous outburst, insisting his relationship with his players is “really good” ahead of the crunch World Cup decider with Slovenia.
The Italian claimed Terry had made a “big mistake” after the Chelsea captain had aired grievances in public following England’s poor start to the World Cup campaign.
But Capello says the matter is now at a close and believes spirit in the camp is high ahead of this afternoon’s must-win game.
“John Terry is one of the most important players,” Capello said when asked if he ever considered leaving out his former skipper.
“The players are happy. They trained very well. I think it’s normal to have pressure at the moment. We have a play-off to be in or out. We have to win.”
Capello is also backing striker Wayne Rooney to find his form at the right time after a below-par start to the World Cup campaign.
Several critics have even suggested dropping the Manchester United striker in favour of an all-Tottenham front-line of Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch, but Capello believes his star man will come good at just the right time.
“I spoke a lot of time with Rooney and he is an important player for us,” he added. “Sometimes the pressure is so big, also for the important players. He improved in the last three days during training. I am sure tomorrow he will play really well.”
One of Terry’s gripes was the absence of his Chelsea team-mate Joe Cole in the side, insisting both he and Rooney were the only two players who could open up defences.
And Capello admits it’s possible he did make tactical mistakes as England slumped to disappointing draws against the USA and Algeria in their opening two matches.
“It’s possible I made some mistakes,” he conceded. “It’s possible. We have to improve if we want to win. I expect to see the spirit of the team. I want to see them fighting every moment, I want that we win the ball back quickly.
“We have to press more, we have to run more. This I want to see.”
Captain Steven Gerrard, meanwhile, has described this afternoon’s clash as “do-or-die” for England as they seek to avoid an embarrassing group stage exit.
And the Liverpool midfielder claims the squad have not been affected by Terry’s outburst on Sunday night, insisting it’s business as usual for the Three Lions.
“He’s gone out and said what he said but I think it’s time to move on,” he added. “As captain it’s important I switch attention to the game as it’s a do-or-die situation.
“Training was very good and sharp this morning so we need to go out and do the business.”