Arsene Wenger defends Fabio Capello's stance over John Terry

 

Arsene Wenger has defended Fabio Capello's stand over John Terry, insisting the Italian should have had the final say over whether the Chelsea defender remained as England captain or not.

Capello resigned yesterday after the Football Association board went over his head to strip Terry of the captaincy, with the player facing trial on a racist abuse charge in July, after Euro 2012. Terry denies a charge of racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

Capello made clear in an interview with Italian television on Sunday that he completely disagreed with the FA's decision, and Arsenal manager Wenger told Arsenal Player today: "When the decision came out from the FA, I said that the choice of captain is down to the manager. You (the manager) pick your team, you choose your captain.

"I did not expect such an extreme situation but it looks like there was already some turbulence there and that was just the final straw. I am sad that Capello leaves four months before such an important competition, it is a big blow for England and I am sad for him."

Wenger is considered an outside bet with bookmakers to replace Capello, with Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp the overwhelming favourite.

The Frenchman believes the FA should look for an English candidate, adding: "I have always been straight in (suggesting an Englishman should be next) - not because I think an English manager can do a better job than any foreign guy, just because you represent your country and it is better if the manager is from there. Especially in a big football country like England.

"It's now down to the FA to make the right decision and you will not be surprised when I tell you I do not want to interfere with that!"

England defender Rio Ferdinand aimed a parting shot at Capello, and identified Redknapp as the best man to replace him.

Ferdinand, who has already ruled himself out of the running to succeed Terry as captain, wrote on Twitter that the national team "don't need anything else lost in translation" - an apparent dig at Italian Capello, whose poor command of the English language saw him face criticism during his four years in charge.

Ferdinand wrote: "I think we need an English manager now, we don't need anything else lost in translation....Harry Redknapp would be my choice by a distance."

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew is another name linked to the England job, or to taking the reins at Spurs if Redknapp becomes national boss.

Pardew believes Redknapp is the obvious candidate for the role and sees his own future on Tyneside.

"Firstly as an Englishman, I am proud to be in that sort of frame, but it's not for me and I will make that quite clear. I am not even in the running as far as I am concerned," he said.

"I am quite happy where I am. I want to stay here and see this job through. I really, really hope that Harry and Spurs and everybody sorts themselves out and can do it in a manner in which it works for everybody."

It has been suggested that Redknapp could, in the short term at least, combine his role as Tottenham boss with managing the England team.

However, QPR boss Mark Hughes - who fulfilled a similar role with Wales and Blackburn in 2004, believes it would be a lot to ask.

"Sometimes I felt it was possible to do both and then not. I did the role part-time and took charge of Wales for two games while a club manager, which I felt quite difficult," the Welshman said.

"I think it would be a little bit unrealistic to be able to expect to do a high-level job and the national team. I think it is a little bit too much."

Bolton boss Owen Coyle also backed Redknapp's candidacy, adding: "In my opinion, what England need is somebody to go in and get that spirit together, that camaraderie and to be a motivator. Harry Redknapp ticks every box, and he also has fantastic football knowledge. When you put that all together, there is no doubt he is a complete package."

Paolo Di Canio, who played under both Capello at AC Milan and Redknapp at West Ham in the 1990s, believes the Englishman would be able to get the best out of the team.

"I don't know if all of them feel the cause when they sing at the beginning of the game. That is crucial to do something more," the Swindon boss said.

"Redknapp can help in this way. To have an English staff in the dressing room, thinking about tactical and technical matters but also to say they must fight for 65million people and they have to feel this shirt on your body, that makes a difference."

Sports minister Hugh Robertson praised FA chairman David Bernstein for his handling of the Terry situation and said: "The moment Capello went on Italian TV and openly criticised them then there was no going back - either the FA had to get him to retract what he had said or he had to go.

"The FA have acted decisively and with enormous integrity. If they had simply tried to sweep this under the carpet they would have been attacked for being weak."

PA

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