John Terry yesterday issued as staunch a defence of his character as the Football Association's diktat of silence on the Anton Ferdinand race row permits, insisting he had never considered hiding from an issue he feels duty-bound to face and revealing he has been offered support by players and managers from all over the world – including Jose Mourinho – as the investigation continues.
The FA was adamant that neither the England captain nor the manager, Fabio Capello, would discuss at the press briefings the allegation that Terry racially abused Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea's 1-0 defeat at Queen's Park Rangers last month, an incident that is the subject of inquiries by both the game's governing body and the Metropolitan Police.
Terry described his inability to put his side of the story as "unfortunate" but understandable, adding that he would have welcomed the chance to speak in public earlier if Capello had not omitted him from his starting XI for the victory over Spain.
The 30-year-old was at pains, though, to thank his team-mates, peers and fans for their backing despite calls for him to be stripped of the England captaincy should he be found guilty. Asked if he had considered withdrawing this week in order to avoid the spotlight during the investigation, he said: "I am here and I am proud to be England captain.
"I would have faced the media last week if I had been picked against Spain ... I would have dealt with it my way, like I am now. I am not someone to hide away. Unfortunately, I cannot speak [about the allegations]. We all understand that with the police and the FA. [But] being captain is all about coming out and facing up to it.
"It has been nice that the [England] players have supported me publicly and personally. It has been really good. And I was delighted with the reaction of the fans on Saturday. It was nice to get applauded as I warmed up down the touchline by the England fans. That has probably put me at ease."
Terry's natural bullishness does not seem to have been affected by an allegation which could affect his career in a way which a string of his prior offences – from parking in disabled bays to alleged marital infidelity with a former girlfriend of his erstwhile team-mate, Wayne Bridge – could not.
Tonight at Wembley he will become the sixth-most frequent captain of England. That his reign will not be remembered with universal love, though, does not seem to faze him. Asked why he thought he was such a divisive figure, he said: "Regardless of what people think, no one can ever take away what I have done in my career."