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Wednesday 13 December 2017

English in meltdown

Capello's ongoing troubles with Terry make McCarthy's Saipan saga look like child's play

REMEMBER 2002, Roy Keane, Mick McCarthy and all of that? The debate split families and still does. Right now, Fabio Capello would take your arm off if you offered him Saipan and a row over sun-tan lotion.

It is funny to think how big a deal Keane's epic walk-out was and how, in an odd sort of a way, we took pride in the fact that newspapers around the globe thought the story was big enough to shift much more weighty matters off the front page.

We thought we were the centre of the football universe, even if it was for all the wrong reasons.



MISTAKE

But Capello has been coping with a Saipan or worse every few months since he made the greatest mistake of his life and agreed to manage the England senior team.

As far as football's rap sheet is concerned, John Terry has already topped Saipan by orders of magnitude and poor Capello has been dealing with the consequences of infidelity, pregnancy, pride and, now, alleged racism.

Against that background, McCarthy's experience with his captain in Saipan and Izumo was a walk in the park.

Capello has no control whatsoever over events and can only watch and wait for a verdict on Terry from his players when they gather for the international friendly date at the end of the month.

Terry already stretched loyalties within Capello's group over the Wayne Bridge affair and hardened the traditional north/ south divide in England squads when the issue of the captaincy was raised before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Capello stuck with Terry over Rio Ferdinand or the compromise candidate Steven Gerrard and now he's reaping a sorry harvest.

Ferdinand has further complicated an already messy situation by making his feelings on Terry quite plain in recent days and that creates an awful set of circumstances for Capello.

It is impossible to imagine both men living, eating and sleeping in the same building and with the same group of footballers for three weeks before Euro 2012 and then the tournament itself.

If Ferdinand, or any other black members of the England squad, believe that Terry is a racist and that he proved it by his remarks to brother Anton, how can Capello pick him?

Of course, it's easy to see why Capello will be anxious to find some sort of resolution sooner rather than later.

The decision to hear Terry's case after Euro 2012 didn't do Capello any favours at all and simply pushes the problem down the road leaving behind a very bad smell indeed, as Ferdinand so succinctly put it in his tweet.

Capello was willing to plough on until Terry was proven guilty or innocent of the charge against him, simply because the Chelsea skipper is the heart of his team.

Racist or not, he remains England's best defender and talisman and if Capello is forced to drop him as is looking increasingly likely, England will go to Poland and Ukraine severely weakened.

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