So, all along Fabio Capello wasn’t going to play John Terry against Spain. The recent allegations surrounding the Chelsea and England captain were irrelevant, as we understand he had decided beforehand that he wanted to “…see something different in the two centre backs (selected)”
He will however, barring injury, start and captain the side against Sweden on Tuesday.
That’s right; he’s experimenting against the current European and World Champions by leaving his captain out. He’s not experimenting against a side currently ranked 14th in the world days later, no he’s doing so against the best side in the world. Indeed, the best side planet football has seen for a very long time. A team that regularly sweeps aside all that comes before them, with relative ease.
And Terry’s replacement in this experiment? A bloke currently requiring injections for a broken toe to get him through a match and can’t train at full pelt.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for an element of experimentation during international friendlies, it’s the only time to do it really. But that has to be within reason and for a nation with glass confidence such as ours; a heavy defeat against Spain could carry serious consequences for the squad and the country as a whole.
But that’s not my real point because quite frankly, I don’t believe it is an experiment.
In my opinion, the reason John Terry doesn’t start against Spain is two fold;
Firstly, there is a concern within the camp that the ongoing FA and Metropolitan Police investigations could have a detrimental affect on Terry and such a drop in focus will be exposed by the fluid, passing, movement of the Spanish attack.
Secondly, the said fluid, passing, movement of the Spanish attack will expose Terry anyway.
John Terry has been a fine centre half since arriving on the scene and regardless of your opinion of him as a man; few could argue that he has been a true leader on the pitch. A brave, lion-hearted centre half, who will throw his head in where other’s wouldn’t put a boot, harking back to the older generation. More Butcher than Moore but you know what I mean.
But there is no getting away from the fact that injuries have taken their toll. Whilst never being the most mobile, he’s considerably less so these days.
If I’m right, then my second point is cause for concern going into the Euros next year.
Shall we dare to dream? Let’s say we achieve the unimaginable and arrive at the final of Euro 2012. Who are we playing? Well Spain of course. No, not the Spain we’ll face at Wembley in a meaningless friendly where they may take it easy on us. No, it’ll be the other Spanish side. The Spanish Side that sees a 3rd trophy in as many tournaments on the horizon and will be all out to win.
So if Capello doesn’t think that Terry can cope against the Spanish at Wembley, are we to assume that he will drop the England captain prior to the biggest match for this country should the above scenario play out. I suspect not. You don’t drop your captain before a major final.
Maybe the decision to reinstate Terry as Captain will return to haunt Capello, if it hasn’t done so already.
The difficulty you have with Capello is that whether it be language barriers or simply the fact that he’s a wily old character who likes to keep his cards close to his chest, you never feel that you are getting the full story.
You never feel that he fully engages with the media and as a result, we know the persona rather than the man.
I’m not advocating that a manager, at international or club level, should discuss every aspect of their thinking. But the well is dry in terms of confidence in the manager and the squad with many England fans and a degree of openness from the manager wouldn’t do any harm.
The bridges have never really been rebuilt since South Africa.
As for the match, I really don’t believe England can win. I don’t mean in terms of score but in relation to the after affects.
If we win, we’ll be told that it’s only a meaningless friendly and as such, we shouldn’t read too much into it. Of course a win will also fuel those who get carried away at every England tournament. For some, we beat Spain, we’ve as good as won the Euro’s.
Get beat? Match will no longer be meaningless. It will be held as an example of how far behind the world’s best we are and the doom and gloom merchants will be out in force.
Begs the question why we’re playing Spain really……that is of course if you momentarily forget it’s not always necessarily about the football. Wembley wasn’t cheap to build you know?
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