John Terry has retained the England captaincy with Fabio Capello preferring to keep faith with the Chelsea defender in preference to Rio Ferdinand.
Terry had been the skipper during the Steve McClaren era after David Beckham quit in tearful circumstances after the 2006 World Cup.
But his position was cast into doubt when Capello took charge and delayed naming his on-field lieutenant.
Steven Gerrard, Ferdinand and Beckham - as well as Terry - were all given one game each by Capello to demonstrate their credentials.
Ferdinand appeared to be the favourite but Capello has decided to persevere with Terry.
It is a massive lift for Terry who was distraught after missing the crucial penalty in the Champions League final shoot-out with Manchester United in May.
But he showed great character when skippering England the following week against the United States at Wembley, when he scored the opening goal.
That may have helped to sway Capello but it will be a massive blow to Ferdinand.
The 29-year-old must have wondered if he would ever lead his country after serving a eight-match ban for failing to attend a drugs test at Manchester United's training ground in 2004.
He has slowly but surely put his off-the-field problems behind him and looked set to be given the armband.
But Capello again has shown his ability for springing surprises in retaining the faith in Terry.
Capello introduced Terry as his permanent captain and the Chelsea skipper admitted he had been nervous before he was told of the coach's decision.
"I think everybody realises it means the world to me, to retain the armband," said Terry.
"To get the armband back is a huge achievement for me.
"It was about an hour ago, just after training. The manager called the whole squad together and told us as a whole.
"For me to get it above the likes of him (Ferdinand) and the other players in the squad is a great honour."
Terry admitted he was a little surprised when Capello selected him ahead of Ferdinand.
"I'd never given up on the armband and never will do," he said.
"I'd heard the whispers Rio got the armband so I was a little bit shocked, but I've got to make the most of it."
Terry added: "My target now is to qualify for the World Cup and that's the aim going forward."
Capello revealed Terry's "big personality" was the deciding factor.
"Rio, when he was captain, played very well - the same level as John," he said.
"It was not easy for me to choose because they are very good players.
"The big personality of John was the reason I chose John, but Rio is very important to the team."
Manchester United defender Ferdinand has been named as vice-captain of the national team.
Capello revealed the importance he placed on his decision over who should captain England for the World Cup qualifying campaign.
"I think the captain is very important because he is the driver of the team," explained Capello.
Capello also stressed the importance of the qualifying campaign.
"I think the season just starts for us, for the national team it's a very important season.
"We have to work and play every game like a final."
Terry agreed that the focus should be on the qualifying programme after England missed out on Euro 2008.
"We need to concentrate on qualifying for the World Cup and we have got the squad to do that. We just need to do it on the pitch."