Defiant, unapologetic and emotional: Terry snatches back England armband

Defender concedes he is not a universal first choice but only regrets that criticism of Capello during last year's World Cup became public

It only ever became uncomfortable when, at the end of his press briefing yesterday, John Terry was asked about the possibility of one day rekindling his friendship with Wayne Bridge and the new England captain answered tersely in the negative without any attempt at charm.

Other than that, the return of Terry to the England captaincy, precisely one year, one month and 19 days since he was sacked by Fabio Capello was another classic performance from one of the most controversial figures in modern English football. Was he about to say sorry? No. Did he have anything to say sorry about? Debatable.

Will he be able to keep his nose clean from now on? Who knows?

Whatever your view on Terry, no one could deny he is one tough customer. The storm that engulfed his life 13 months ago – involving his former friend Bridge, Bridge's ex-fiancée Vanessa Perroncel and an old-fashioned sex scandal – might have destroyed weaker characters but here was Terry, chipper as ever, ready to lead England out as captain against Wales in Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier, in his third stint in the job.

At various moments yesterday he was self-deprecating, light-hearted and, when the mood took him, even emotional. What he was not was apologetic.

A younger Terry, more eager to please and less sure of himself, might have been talked into admitting to a few faults of his own but those days are long gone. A couple of hours earlier he had stood on the training pitch at Arsenal's training ground and listened while Capello explained to the squad that he had been reinstated as captain and if there were any questions they should be aired there and then.

Unsurprisingly, no one raised a hand. For Terry that is enough to put to bed all those stories about him being an unpopular figure in the dressing room. Fair enough, but these are professional footballers we are talking about. They have plenty to say in private to agents and confidantes but offer them a public forum for their views and they tend to stare at their toes and keep their counsel.

"As we get older, we live and learn. We move on," Terry said. "As a man, as a player, we can see I've moved on, on and off the field. I concentrate on doing the right thing, playing well for Chelsea and for my country. I feel I've done that. I don't want to get into too much detail about 'moving on', but it's a massive thing for me today. The emotion is quite overwhelming. I'm delighted on a personal note."

There was no major peace offering to Capello following his decision to strip Terry of the captaincy last February. He accepted it at the time, Terry said, but that did not mean he agreed with it.

"I didn't agree with the decision [to sack him in February], which I told them face to face, but I said I respected their decision and I'll continue to work hard," Terry said. "I could understand it a little bit, but once they spoke to me – and once again it's difficult for legal reasons to go into detail – I just felt I didn't deserve to lose the armband."

That caveat of "legal reasons" was dropped in more than once by Terry, although he did not expand on what those reasons were, much less what they restricted him from saying. What was not in doubt was that this must be a man so confident he must be sure that there are no skeletons in the cupboard that could embarrass him again.

Although it was just the Perroncel saga and the ensuing media firestorm for which he was sacked by Capello, there was before that an ill-judged email in November 2009 offering to companies the chance to sign an endorsement deal with the England captain. It was an embarrassment.

"I never tried to cash in on anything," Terry said. "There was an issue with the statement [email] that went out initially, that had nothing to do with me. It was a company that didn't represent me. I've never cashed in. I'm not the best looking guy anyway, so people aren't going to want me spread all over the place. But I've never tried to cash in on the England captaincy."

Observing Terry, the thought occurred that this unflappable aspect of his character must be what Capello admires so much to go through the upheaval of reappointing him. Terry may not be, in his own words, "everyone's cup of tea" but he knows that football tends to reward those who do not wilt under the pressure. He could never be accused of that.

He was unrepentant about his outspoken criticism of Capello after the Algeria game during last summer's turgid World Cup although there was one concession that in the future he would not be quite so open. "I just wouldn't come out publicly and say what I said," Terry said. "It would stay in-house. That's what I learnt.

"I didn't want to go home from the World Cup early. I thought we had a real chance with the squad we had. It was our time. People were peaking in their careers. English teams had had a good time in Europe for four or five years and gained a lot of top-level experience. I thought that would bode well for that tournament. I wasn't prepared to sit back and accept that. Looking back, certain things I shouldn't have said, but I can still hold my head up high."

Not even the criticism of him last year from the Wales striker Craig Bellamy – "I know what JT is like and nothing surprises me about it" – affected his composure. Yesterday Terry played the role of England captain well. The challenge now is how long he can keep it like that.

Terry timeline

29 January 2010 A High Court injunction is lifted, leaving media outlets free to report details of John Terry's alleged affair with the ex-girlfriend of former team-mate Wayne Bridge.

5 February Terry is called to a Wembley meeting with Fabio Capello, where he is stripped of the captaincy. Rio Ferdinand replaces him.

27 February Bridge, who retired from international football earlier the same week, refuses to shake Terry's hand as Manchester City visit Chelsea for a league match.

3 March In first England game since losing the captaincy, Terry is booed by sections of Wembley crowd during a 3-1 win over Egypt. Captain's armband is passed around players, with Terry later claiming "they would have given it to one of the stewards ahead of me. It was disrespectful."

20 June Terry speaks of dressing room disharmony following poor start to World Cup. Capello calls outburst "a very big mistake."

19 March 2011 Capello restores the Chelsea defender to the captaincy, claiming "one year's punishment is enough."

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
First woman: Valentina Tereshkova
peopleNASA guinea pig Kate Greene thinks it might fly
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Life and Style
The charity Sands reports that 11 babies are stillborn everyday in the UK
lifeEleven babies are stillborn every day in the UK, yet no one speaks about this silent tragedy
News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
Northern soul mecca the Wigan Casino
fashionGone are the punks, casuals, new romantics, ravers, skaters, crusties. Now all kids look the same
Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

News
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past