Sam Wallace: Testing week for Capello ends with a gentle draw

For Capello, there is still unfinished business on this matter, most importantly when he speaks to his squad next month.

The snow still sits in mounds around Warsaw and the temperature is well below freezing, which was why Slaven Bilic did not stop for long yesterday when he left the Palace of Culture after the Euro 2012 draw. But the Croatia coach was one of the few national team managers who was prepared to give an opinion on the John Terry scandal.

Bilic has seen the worst of England under Terry's captaincy and the very best. In the last qualifying campaign for a European Championships, his team beat Steve McClaren's England twice – the second occasion at Wembley in November 2007, when Terry was among the key players injured. More recently, Capello's resurgent England team have twice beaten Croatia, including a 4-1 win in Zagreb, to eliminate them from qualifying for the World Cup this summer.

Asked how he thought Terry's loss of the England captaincy would affect the player, Bilic said: "John Terry is a tiger, he is a lion and always will be for his team, there is no doubt about that. He is just a leader. Some players need the push of the armband to be a captain, to be an authority and gain that from the rest of the players and a leader for the rest of the team, but not John Terry.

"He has never needed that. He is a natural leader, anyway. He can still be that kind of player for England this summer in the World Cup. It will not affect him.

"He was the leader on the pitch for Chelsea right from the beginning, long before he became the captain of the club. It is the way he plays and he always will show that leadership on the pitch, whether he is the captain or not. I have no worries about that. [Fabio] Capello knows that as well."

It was typical Bilic, straightforward and from the heart, but unfortunately the problem of Terry and England is a bit more complicated than that. Capello was unwilling to discuss his sacking of the England captain until he was well away from the television cameras and even then it was brief. For Capello, there is still unfinished business on this matter, most importantly when he speaks to his squad next month.

Surrounded by television cameras, Capello refused to discuss the matter – "It has been a normal week for me," he said – instead preferring to talk about yet another cushy draw for his England team. Switzerland may have qualified for the World Cup finals but they have proved easy pickings for England in the past. Bulgaria are ranked 30th in the world. Montenegro, ranked 72nd, are managed by Niko Kranjcar's father Zlatko. Wales are six places below them.

There are no guarantees the Italian will still be in charge of the national team after the World Cup finals. But on a Football Association salary of £4.8m a year, and a qualifying draw like that, it will take a very attractive offer to prise Capello away.

Four years ago at the qualifying draw for Euro 2008, Sven Goran Eriksson said he had left his successor a real gift. By then the Swede was already a dead man walking, due to leave after the World Cup following the embarrassment of the fake Sheikh scandal. "I think England should be rather happy about this draw – it could be much worse," the Swede said at the time. Two years on and England had failed to qualify.

Capello's knowledge of Welsh football was boosted considerably by a conversation with Wales manager John Toshack on the flight to Poland although whether he knew much about the likes of Robert Earnshaw and Simon Church before then, one can only speculate. Asked what he thought of the group, Capello talked through the different countries.

"Every game will be really tough, it will be interesting," he said. "It will be impossible for us to play even one game relaxed. I was speaking to Toshack on the plane and he was telling me how Wales are a young team. Their average age is 22-year-old.

"Switzerland will be really tough. My first game was against Switzerland [in February 2008] and we have moved along since then. From that match I remember I was really happy after seeing them [my players] play in training, but it was not the same in the match.

"In that game the players were not the same players out on the pitch that I saw in training. I think, when we play Switzerland again, we will show that we have progressed since my first game in charge. I know a lot of Welsh players – they are good, young players. It will be interesting."

By the time Euro 2012 qualifying starts next autumn, we will have a much better idea of what kind of international coach Capello is and whether this England team are likely to fulfil their potential. If they are world champions by then, even the Terry saga will be forgotten.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Diego Costa, Ross Barkley, Arsene Wenger, Brendan Rodgers, Alan Pardew and Christian Eriksen
footballRodgers is right to be looking over his shoulder, while something must be done about diving
News
i100
Life and Style
gaming
Arts and Entertainment
Carl Barat and Pete Dohrety in an image from the forthcoming Libertines short film
filmsPete Doherty and Carl Barat are busy working on songs for a third album
Arts and Entertainment
films
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.

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible