The England Captain

February 14, 2010

Wayne Bridge and John Terry

Bridge and Terry - Not Comparing Notes (Photo: Getty)

First of all, apologies for my lack of activity recently, things at work have been absolutely hectic and I’ve not been able to dedicate as much time to my blogging as I’d like. My slightly enforced absence from the world of sports means that I’m about 2 weeks behind the times, so again, my apologies if this particular entry seems a bit untimely.

So, as I type this, Rio Ferdinand is our new captain, from a playing perspective, it feels like Capello didn’t have much of a choice. Gerrard, while awesome at club level, still hasn’t really delivered on the international stage and has been sub-par this season, Lampard still looks like a man who can’t believe he hasn’t been worked out yet and Rooney is still at least three years off taking the role on himself. The problem is that Capello doesn’t have that many “Captain Like” players to choose from and Rio Ferdinand is the only realistic choice available to him.

The sporting presses worked themselves up into a predictable lather over who would be our new captain following the John Terry fallout. They made out like the captain was some kind of mythical, god-like figure who bestrides the English game like a colossus, like a kind of Churchillian figure.

Of course, this isn’t anything like what the captain does, the English Football Captain is primarily a figurehead and the role is largely ceremonial.  Our football captain, unlike, say, the cricket captain doesn’t have an input into team selection or tactics, those responsibilities are handled by Signors Capello and Baldini. Indeed, if you actually break down the football captains responsibilities, beyond the obligatory photo calls and interviews, you don’t have that much left. I mean, I’m sure that John Terry is great at calling a coin toss and doing that swapping thing with the pennants at the start of the match, but I could do that. And as for “geeing up” his team mates, nobody waves his arms around better than John Terry, but it’s hardly switching formations and tactics on the fly, is it? And more crucially than that, John Terry doesn’t even take responsibility for arranging the pitches for his team to play on and paying the FA the subs fee each week (hat-tip to Chris D).

Signor Capello appreciates the decorative nature of the captaincy more than most people, and that explains why he was able to dispose of John Terry’s services so easily.