Steve Tongue: Terry's a loser but England squad lose nothing

According to one dressing-room observer, Fabio Capello's final words following England's match against Brazil in November, the last before a three-month international break, were along the lines of "keep playing for your clubs" and "keep your noses clean". If the latter phrase does not sound terribly authentic, given the manager's lack of idiomatic English, the message was clear. John Terry failed to heed it and is now the loser, in pride and probably pocket, from what has been a depressing affair in more than the sexual sense.

Far more importantly, Team England are the winners, as was always Capello's only concern. That much was evident from what his inner circle insisted was the carefully worded statement issued in his name on Friday: "The best for all of the England squad," was the key phrase. That squad have lost nothing. Terry, as he has demonstrated admirably in his last couple of Chelsea matches, and in optimistically talking of regaining the captaincy one day, is a battler who will continue to play his footballing heart out. If initially a little more subdued around the England training ground and dressing room, as befits a man so publicly humiliated, he will soon regain the natural bounce that has made him an undeniably successful leader of club and country, by word and deed. Those leadership qualities will also still be useful on inevitable occasions when the new captain, Rio Ferdinand, is absent and the armband is worn by the less voluble Steven Gerrard.

Having Ferdinand to the right of him in the back four will not be a problem; the possibility of Wayne Bridge lining up on his left may yet be and the whole question of their relationship requires Capello to be even more sure-footed than previously. The former friends and club-mates could be named in the same squad as early as three weeks today, ahead of the friendly against Egypt on 3 March.

When Ashley Cole was injured for the Brazil game, Bridge started ahead of Aston Villa's improving Stephen Warnock. Come the World Cup, it is by no means certain that a reserve left-back will be required, though Capello now risks accusations of political expediency if Bridge stays at home. At previous tournaments the squad members who tend never to play are the third goalkeeper and reserve full-backs. As long as Cole and Glen Johnson are 100 per cent fit there is a strong argument for taking more versatile defenders such as Joleon Lescott and Wes Brown (Owen Hargreaves' availability is increasingly unlikely) who can stand in. That would free up an extra place on the plane for one of the surfeit of midfielders or strikers with which England are blessed.

For now, the drip-drip of further revelation and allegation can continue until readers and editors become bored, but damage will be limited. "The media have won," an outraged Chelsea supporter proclaimed on one of the many lively and divided radio phone-ins this weekend. Capello is convinced that England have won, which is what he was hired at such expense to achieve.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water