John must go to take heat off team

Trevor Steven
IT MAY be a wrench, but for his and England’s sake the best thing John Terry can do is relinquish the captaincy of the national team. Terry is in the full glare of the media spotlight following allegations he conducted an affair with the ex-girlfriend of his England team-mate Wayne Bridge. That attention is not going to go away. The Press will not let it drop; every time England are mentioned the scandal will be too.

If England had a packed fixture list, it might get lost amid all the other news, but they only have three games between now and the World Cup, so it will rumble on. And if anything goes wrong for England, you can be sure it will be attributed to tensions caused by the episode.

If Terry does not bite the bullet, then manager Fabio Capello will have no choice but to step in when they hold talks later this week.

Despite suggestions to the contrary, the Italian won’t worry about players losing respect for Terry. Footballers are a funny bunch. Each is just happy to be playing, regardless of who is the captain. The truth is everybody has skeletons in their closet, so nobody will be pointing fingers.

Dressing-room tensions always exist because there are strong personalities. Players will slag off team-mates over a drink and even deliberately kick them in training. But I can count the number of fights I saw in my career on the fingers of one hand, and morale is not greatly affected by these tensions.

Capello will recognise this episode needs to be off the agenda, and won’t be forgotten until Terry and the armband are parted. Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard would all be able successors, but I would give the honour to Wayne Rooney. The striker may be young, but he is doing everything right at the moment and the extra responsibility might just help curb his rash streak.