There are many who will call Wayne Bridge a wimp, a deserter or just plain unpatriotic for abandoning England when they are down to their last decent left-back with a World Cup finals about to start in less than four months' time.
But what they fail to understand is that Bridge cannot bear to spend a moment in the company of John Terry, a former friend and team-mate whom he now simply loathes. As for knocking about in a hotel with Terry for the best part of six weeks, it is a prospect that Bridge has weighed up every day for the last five weeks and found impossible to stomach.
It is a great pity that Bridge has chosen to end his international career, not least because after Ashley Cole he is easily the best left-back the country has, no matter what is said about the merits of Leighton Baines or Stephen Warnock. It is a shame that a footballer at the age of 29 quits when he still has the prospect of his finest hour ahead of him.
But Bridge is perfectly entitled to take the stance he has and when the full story of Terry and Bridge's ex-fiancee Vanessa Perroncel emerges there may be a few more who realise just why he does not want anything to do with the former England captain.
In the meantime, it can safely be assumed that this was a decision Bridge took neither lightly nor in haste. He did so having considered the wrongs he believed were dealt him from people he was entitled to expect a level of decency from. Bridge recognised that in some quarters he would be regarded as weak or lovesick or perhaps even weirdly controlling, trying to dictate to his ex who she could or could not sleep with.
But the bottom line is that Bridge is simply not prepared to make up and shake Terry's hand, to lark about with him in those mindless training ground warm-ups so beloved of professional footballers. He is not prepared to sit in the same dressing room as Terry and pretend that he can be his mate. He is making a stand.
He is not daft either, he knows that if it came to a straight choice for Capello between Terry and Bridge it would be Terry every time. He does not want to walk back into the England team hotel and subject himself – as he knew he would have to in those circumstances – to the law of the group and put differences aside for the good of the team.
Those close to Bridge say that he wants, if even just for a few days, to make life difficult for Terry. Bridge wants people to know that what was said and done in private was wrong, wrong to the extent that he is prepared to sacrifice playing at a World Cup finals in order to make the point.
What a pity for England it came to that, especially with Capello already missing Cole. What a shame for Bridge, a decent player who will probably be remembered for this saga above all. It does not make him a bad person, just someone who had taken about as much as he could bear and decided he needed to make his point.
Desperation point? England's left-back options
Stephen Warnock (Aston Villa)
Best club honour European Super Cup Winner 2005, with Liverpool.
Shares the shortest England playing career of eight minutes.
Leighton Baines (Everton)
Best club honour FA Cup runner-up 2009
Reknowned for his impressive dead-ball skills, has twice made the squad.
Nicky Shorey (Fulham, on loan from Aston Villa)
Age 29 Caps 2
Best club honour Championship 2006
In Fabio Capello's first England squad, recently loaned to Nottingham Forest.
Paul Konchesky (Fulham)
Best club honour FA Cup runner-up 2006
Injured and last played for England in 2005. Never been in a Capello squad.Reuse content