Terry throws down gauntlet over controversial captaincy return

Defender invites team-mates to speak out if they are unhappy with decision
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The Independent Football

John Terry made a defiant return as England captain yesterday, claiming he should never have lost the job in the first place and inviting any players unhappy at the England manager Fabio Capello's decision to confront him face to face.

At the start of yesterday morning's training session, Capello announced to the squad that Terry would be replacing Rio Ferdinand as permanent captain ahead of Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales in Cardiff.

Capello then asked the players if they had any objections to the decision, and no one spoke, as Terry was at pains to point out in a press conference later.

He admitted the decision may not be popular with all the players but said anyone who was unhappy should speak to him personally. Terry said: "I'm not going to be everybody's cup of tea. There are certain players at clubs who don't get on with each other. We know that. That's life. But I would respect people if they came to me personally rather than hearing things.

"The manager pulled the group together this morning and asked if anyone had any questions, and no one said a word. So I'll respect anyone who comes to me personally and we deal with it one on one."

Terry had been captain until he was sacked following allegations in February last year of an affair with Wayne Bridge's ex-fiancée Vanessa Perroncel. He has been reappointed after Capello decided Terry had been punished enough.

Speaking for the first time since regaining the captaincy, Terry also strenuously denied he had ever tried to exploit his position for financial gain. He was criticised in 2009 for an email sent on his behalf by a PR firm offering his services to potential sponsors. "I never tried to cash in on anything. There was an issue with the statement 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," Terry said.

He showed no sign of remorse following his 13 months without the England captaincy, repeating his claim that he should never have lost the job in the first place. He also hinted there was no chance of a reconciliation with Bridge.

Terry said: "When I met Fabio and [his assistant] Franco [Baldini] at Wembley [in February last year], I looked them in the eye and said they'd get nothing less from me, which I feel is what I've done. Maybe they've both looked at that in me. I didn't agree with the decision, which I told them face to face, but I said I respected their decision and I'll continue to work hard.

"I could understand it a little bit, but I just felt I didn't deserve to lose the armband. I think over the last four or five years, I'd like to think I've kept my head down and done the right thing."

The decision to reappoint Terry comes with both Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard sidelined with injury. Frank Lampard was the captain for last month's friendly in Denmark but when he was substituted the armband was passed first to Ashley Cole and then Gareth Barry, despite Terry being on the pitch. Capello has since decided it is time for Terry to return.

The Chelsea defender admitted to being nervous yesterday and said he had received supportive messages from players, such as Ferdinand. "I had the worst night's sleep ever, actually. I was pretty nervous," he said. "It was like the first day back at school, really. I was very surprised. Obviously, I'd seen the rumours over the last two weeks since the story broke, but I'd heard nothing directly. I wanted to concentrate on Chelsea really. I didn't know what to make of the speculation.

"I'd never given up hope of regaining the armband. But I had a big game for Chelsea at the weekend to concentrate on. But I'm delighted that the manager has announced it this morning in front of the squad."

England will train again today at Arsenal's London Colney training ground, before heading to Cardiff on Friday. Right-back Glen Johnson did not train yesterday but is expected to be fit. Scott Parker did not take a full part in training either following the death of his father on Friday, but he too is expected to be ready for Saturday's game.