Terry stripped of England captaincy

LONDON - John Terry was stripped of the England captaincy after a meeting with coach Fabio Capello on Friday, the Football Association (FA) said.

The Chelsea defender paid the price for damaging revelations about his private life and Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand now looks likely to lead England to this year's World Cup.

"After much thought, I have made the decision that it will be best for me to take the captaincy away from John Terry," Capello, known as a disciplinarian, said in a statement.

"As a captain with the team, John Terry has displayed extremely positive behaviour. However, I have to take into account other considerations and what is best for all of the England squad.

"What is best for all of the England team has inspired my choice. John Terry was notified first."

The decision follows allegations in the British media that Terry had an extra-marital affair with the former girlfriend of England team mate Wayne Bridge, who was a club mate of his at Chelsea before joining Manchester City last year.

"I fully respect Fabio Capello's decision," Terry said in a statement. "I will continue to give everything for England."

The 29-year-old Terry was given the captain's armband on a full-time basis by former England coach Steve McClaren in 2006 and former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach Capello opted to retain him in the role after he took over in 2008.

PERFECT CAPTAIN

Terry was seen by many as the perfect England captain with natural bulldog spirit combined with superb defensive qualities.

In the 15 matches in which he wore the armband under Capello, England won 11 and drew two, qualifying easily for this year's World Cup in South Africa where they will be among the favourites to win the trophy.

Ferdinand, currently serving a suspension with his club for violent conduct, will take over the England captaincy having narrowly missed out when Terry was appointed. He has since deputised for Terry with Steven Gerrard as number three.

"When I chose John Terry as captain, I also selected a vice-captain and also named a third choice. There is no reason to change this decision," Capello said.

Capello made it clear that the decision to remove Terry from the role was his alone.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank The FA, particularly Lord David Triesman and Ian Watmore, for allowing me to make this decision in my own time and in the best interest of the team," he said.

England's next game is a friendly against African Nations Cup champions Egypt at Wembley Stadium on March 3.

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