Belfast Telegraph

Crunch time for John Terry

John Terry today faces a fight to keep hold of the England captaincy when he meets Fabio Capello.

The England manager flies back to London this morning and is resolved to meet his captain before he departs for Warsaw on Saturday morning.

Capello has not yet made up his mind despite reports in Italy that he wants Terry to tender his resignation.

The fallout from Terry's alleged affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the ex-fiance of England team-mate Wayne Bridge, is such that Capello may not make an announcement on what he intends to do before the Euro 2012 draw in Warsaw on Sunday.

Terry's new spokesman Phil Hall, the former News of the World editor, said that the Chelsea skipper would not be speaking about his future before Capello made an announcement.

He said: “John Terry asked me to make it clear that he has made absolutely no statement about his future as England captain. He is keeping his own counsel until he speaks to England manager Fabio Capello and then Mr Capello will decide what announcement will be made.”

Capello has a flight to the Polish capital on Saturday and only limited opportunity to see Terry that day.

Those close to Capello say there is no chance he will speak publicly before talking to Terry although he is aware that he will be walking into a media frenzy when he returns from Switzerland.

The meeting with Terry will be crucial as to whether the England captain keeps his job — although if he does not tell the truth and is later exposed then it could prove disastrous for both sides.

Capello is also wary of making a decision before Sunday when there is the potential for Perroncel to tell her side of the story and for further revelations to emerge. Last night there were suggestions that Perroncel, who is being advised by the publicist Max Clifford, could be persuaded to keep her silence. Those close to Capello are insistent that he has not divulged his thoughts on the matter to anyone and will not speak to the reporters waiting for him when he returns.

England Under-21 manager Stuart Pearce, who also works as a coach with the senior team, entered the debate yesterday, saying that Terry was a “selfless professional”. Pearce said: “Fabio will be wanting to be a dominant voice. I couldn't see anyone else going above Fabio and making decisions in respect to who captains the side. I think the last decision should always be the manager's on whatever goes on. The one thing I would say is that John Terry is a fantastic captain, in footballing terms on and off the pitch.”

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