Mar 23, 2011

Terry admits to dividing opinion

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Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday 26 March Kick-off: 1500 BST Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live and BBC Radio Wales Sport; full text coverage and reports on BBC Sport website; also live on Sky Sports

John Terry has conceded he may not be a widely popular choice following his reinstatement as England captain.

Terry was dropped from the role amid allegations over his private life 13 months ago, but has controversially returned in place of Rio Ferdinand.

"I'm not going to be everybody's cup of tea," stated Chelsea's Terry, who also claimed to be "very much wiser now".

Ferdinand, said to be appalled by boss Fabio Capello's handling of the matter, called Terry to back his leadership.

Ahead of Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales in Cardiff, Terry continued: "Rio phoned me, which was a very nice touch and goes to show what a great man he is.

"We had a 10-minute conversation and he wished me well. He cares about England.

"He was naturally disappointed, but said the most important thing was to keep winning."

Lineker fears for England team-spirit

He added: "I feel for Rio. Even though I've got the armband back, I can see myself we've got leaders in dressing room.

"The guys have still got a massive input in and around the dressing room."

Terry lost the England captaincy to Ferdinand in February 2010 after reports he had an affair with the ex-girlfriend of then international team-mate Wayne Bridge.

Despite admitting to dividing opinion, Terry insisted that he has the backing of the whole England squad.

"When the manager confronted the team on the training pitch [to tell them], he asked the players if they had any questions," he added.

"Nobody spoke. Nobody said a word to the manager, nobody said a word to me. Respect for the players around me and the manager has always been there."

Former England captain and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker said he was "surprised" by Capello's decision to give the captaincy back to Terry.

"It's a bit of a smack in the face for both Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard," Lineker told BBC Radio 5 live.

"You do wonder if that will have an effect on morale in the camp."

But former Chelsea team-mate Michael Ballack, who spent four years at Stamford Bridge after joining the London club in the summer of 2006, rates Terry highly as a skipper.

"If you talk about John Terry I have to protect him because I have had the experience of working with him," the former German captain told BBC Radio 5 live.

"It was always a pleasure. I saw that he did the job really well, the influence he had not just on the pitch but off it as well. He was an absolutely fantastic captain."

Terry said his passion for playing for his country never left him, and insisted that he was ready to deal with the pressure that would come with his re-appointment.

"Naturally, I'd expect nothing less," the Chelsea skipper added.

"I know what is asked of me on the pitch and away from it.

"Maybe the manager looked into that as well, that I had kept my head down and concentrated on playing well for club and country.

"On a personal note, I'm very delighted to get the armband back. People can see that in me, people can see even when I did not have the armband my passion and drive was still there.

"I'm fully fit as well so I'm very much looking forward to continuing staying fit and playing well."

England striker Jermain Defoe said he fully understood close friend Ferdinand's feelings on the captaincy issue.

"Obviously, my heart goes out to Rio," said the Spurs star. "I've known him for years since I was young at West Ham, and he's a great guy, like JT said today.

"It's only normal to be disappointed because to be captain of your country is special.

"At the same time, you've got to be professional and think about the team, and the most important thing is getting results.

"It's important for us now to just move on from this. JT is the captain and that's it. At the end of the day, you need 11 leaders out there."

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