If you are presented with a choice between a racist, serial adulterer, alleged cheat and an unexciting bore of a man, what would you do?
As jobs in English football go, there’s no bigger poisoned chalice on offer than the national team manager’s job. Expectation is higher than after a man pays a hooker and if the outcome isn’t as what’s desired, people get extremely pissed off. Denigration for everything the manager does is the least of his worries when the media and supporters get out the pitchforks.
With that in mind, one of the most important things for eternally unfortunate figure to consider is who to entrust with the armband. Changes are afoot yet again as the second coming of the most hated lion outside of the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham looks near a conclusion. John Terry’s past misdemeanors pale into insignificance compared with his latest decision to racially abuse an opponent and it presents Capello with yet another tricky decision. Should he stay or should he go?
Trying to pick a new captain ahead of next summer’s European Championship couldn’t be harder for England’s beleaguered manager. The choices in front of him are like trying to make the choice of how you’d like to be executed on death row. Well, maybe not that bad but when you consider who could be in line for the England on-field throne, the choice is mediocre at best. By laying out the realistic candidates you realize how hard it is.
A mish-mash of personalities that makes the cast of Oceans Eleven seem like saints are what awaits Capello and in pole position is Rio Ferdinand. Doubts remain about the Manchester United defender’s fitness and he quite frankly can’t really be arsed to play that often (this could be remedied by giving him a one hour slot to “merk” people on MUTV). In his defence, he’s been El Capitan before and the eight-month ban he got for missing a drugs test looks relatively minor compared to other candidates. Rio remains the most realistic prospect. If he isn’t on the pitch, he can’t be a leader though.
Step forward Girls Aloud favorite Ashley Cole. Chelsea’s full-back is one of the players England possess that is genuinely in the top three in his position on a worldwide basis. He’s also in the top three of those that regularly gets splashed over the tabloids for the wrong reasons. Texting pictures of himself looking like he’s wearing a nappy and cheating on his uber-sexy wife Cheryl Cole are just some of the misdemeanors leveled at Cashley’s door. Imagine how much footballers could get away with if they had an ounce of intelligence? Sexting would be the least of anyone’s worries.
If Capello wants to go for the sensible, reliable type he need look no further than Man City midfielder Gareth Barry. Since arriving in the outset Barry has been like a brown-nosed teacher’s pet and it would surprise no-one were he to be the next permanent captain. You get the feeling the only reason he’d be picked is down to his reliance and that he’s an extremely boring man. Barry was probably one of the guys at the theme parl that only went on the tea-cup ride. If you go out for pizza with him he orders a Margerita and tap water. A missionary kinda guy.
Thankfully alongside toe-the-line Barry sits a man that is more than ready for the captaincy – Scott Parker. Since moving to Tottenham in the summer the Football Writers Player of the Year has finally been given an opportunity at international level and is embracing it. Parker likely doesn’t know what a tabloid is whilst at the same time coming across as offering far more in terms of leadership than Barry ever will.
Whatever Capello decides will be criticized and derided as a bad decision. That’s what being England manager is all about and short of winning the Euros next summer he’ll be forever dismissed as an also-ran. If nothing else Don Fabio should have some fun with it. Call up Emile Heskey next summer as a replacement for Rooney. If his performance on FIFA Soccer 12 is anything to go by then we’d be in for some treat…