Terry first out on training ground

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The Independent Football

Contrite England defender John Terry was first out on the training ground this morning as the Three Lions tried to refocus minds ahead of their must-win World Cup clash with Slovenia.

Terry has endured a difficult 24 hours. After taking the option of raising a number of grievances within the England squad in a public forum on Sunday rather than behind closed doors, Terry has found Fabio Capello calling the shots.

Capello has accused Terry of making 'a very big mistake' in his choice of how to address the issues that have arisen.

The Italian clearly has little sympathy for a group of players who are believed to be unhappy at the monotonous regimentation of life at their Rustenburg training camp.

Capello has stated 'this is the World Cup, not a holiday', a statement that is sure to find approval among the many millions of fans back home who have been left aghast at England's disappointing performances in their opening two games.

With a so-called rebel gang of nine distancing themselves from the former skipper, Terry took the option of offering his apology to Capello.

Terry told the Daily Mail: "It was never my intention to upset the manager or the players and, if I did upset anyone, I apologise.

"I have told the manager he has my total support and I would like to stress that I don't believe I have been a disruptive influence in the camp. I would now like to put this episode behind me and concentrate on trying to win what is a massive game for England."

England can now only hope, with the matter at an end, they are in the right state of mind to record the win over Slovenia in Port Elizabeth that they so desperately need to avoid taking a humiliating early trip home.

With Matthew Upson a confirmed starter, Terry will have a third central defensive partner in as many games.

Although there had been some talk Ledley King could make a quicker than expected return from a groin injury, the Tottenham man did not train today at England's Rustenburg base, where they opted to stay after being informed by FIFA that the playing surface at the Nelson Mandela Stadium was not capable of hosting two training sessions as well as tomorrow's match.

Michael Carrick has returned to duty after an ankle injury, although the most likely change would involve Joe Cole being introduced on the left wing, at the expense of Emile Heskey, allowing Wayne Rooney to claim the lone striking slot that he filled with such success at Manchester United this season.