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Fabio Capello defends handling of captaincy saga

England manager Fabio Capello says he can understand why Rio Ferdinand may be upset at losing the captaincy to John Terry, but insists that it was a decision he needed to make.

Terry's return as skipper following a 13-month exile after allegations about his private life has dominated the headlines in the build-up to tomorrow's game with Wales, while it has been reported that Capello did not tell Ferdinand that he was being replaced as captain before reports emerged in the media.

Ferdinand's current absence through injury, plus that of vice-captain Steven Gerrard, meant that Capello had a captaincy decision to make, and he believes he has made the right choice.

"Something happened in my mind when I saw the armband being passed around during our game in Copenhagen (against Denmark)," he said.

"We changed it in the second half and it was unfair for John Terry to see this.

"I thought that it was time for John Terry, after punishment, to return and be captain.

"I know that Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard are not fit. I knew it was the moment, with one game which is so important, to have one captain like John Terry.

"I tried to meet him (Ferdinand) when Manchester United played against Marseille but he told me no.

"I can understand everything, but I need to make decisions. I think I will be happy and will meet him (Ferdinand) in the future."

Pushed further on why the meeting with Ferdinand did not take place, Capello added: "It didn't happen, he didn't come.

"Its a question for him, not for me. I was in the directors' box. You have to ask him, okay?"

Capello added: "I spoke with the players and personally with some players, and I spoke with the squad before I decided that John Terry will be the captain, and all the players were happy because John Terry was always a very important leader on the pitch and to the team."

Capello also praised the improvement shown by Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere, who is set to make his first competitive start for England tomorrow, saying he was surprised at the strides made by the 19-year-old.

Capello said: "He is a young player who has improved a lot in a short time. He was an interesting player, when he played his first game with us he was good, but young.

"Now he is playing like a player who has played a lot of games, like a 28 or 29-year-old. He plays the game fantastically with personality and without fear. It's not easy to find players like him who play without fear in places like the Nou Camp. I spoke with Arsene (Wenger) and he told him he was also surprised by how he had improved so much in so short a time."

When asked whether Wilshere in the years ahead could emulate club mate Aaron Ramsey, who will captain Wales for the first time tomorrow, Capello said: "It will not be my problem. But I think he is a really good player, to be a captain you need to be a leader and I think Wilshere will be captain in a really short time."

In the brief amount of time spent looking ahead to the Millennium Stadium contest, Capello said he was wary of Wales, despite Gary Speed's side having lost their three Group G qualifiers to date.

He said: "I think this derby game is very different to the others we will play. In derby games as a player and as a manager it was not always the best team who won. I think this is a dangerous game to play as the spirit of the Welsh is fantastic."

There is plenty of speculation over who will start up front for Capello's side in Cardiff, but the Italian effectively ruled out picking Andy Carroll, despite the striker's promising start to his Liverpool career after returning from a thigh injury.

Capello said: "I have monitored Andy Carroll in the games that he has played and I went to see him personally.

"He is not at the level that he played before he got injured, he is not fit to play for 90 minutes."