England U21 boss Stuart Pearce has backed under-fire Chelsea and national team skipper John Terry amid calls for the defender to relinquish the England captaincy following allegations over his private life.
The 29-year-old centre-back has been hogging the front pages of newspapers - rather than the back - since the weekend following media reports that Terry engaged in an extra-marital affair with the former partner of Manchester City full-back Wayne Bridge.
Speculation surrounding the defender's future as England captain continues to rage, with Terry set to sit down with Three Lions' boss Fabio Capello this week to discuss recent events.
However, Pearce - Capello's right-hand man who won 78 caps for England - has hailed Terry's professionalism and leadership qualities, but insisted that the final decision on whether he remains as captain of his country ahead of this summer's World Cup finals rests with Capello.
"Fabio will be wanting to be a dominant voice," Pearce said, as reported by This Is London.
"I couldn't see anyone else going above Fabio and making decisions in respect to who captains the side above him.
"The one thing I would say is John Terry is a fantastic captain, in footballing terms on and off the pitch I think he is a selfless professional and his form is fantastic for his country.
"I'm not a big lover of witchhunts of people which I'm afraid our country tends to follow a little bit these days.
"The bottom line is John, his family and everyone concerned in the matter."comments