The Football Association will leave it up to the new England manager to ensure John Terry’s presence does not cause a split in the camp.
Although Terry will not be allowed to skipper the Three Lions at Euro 2012, the FA have confirmed they will not block the Chelsea defender’s inclusion in the squad.
Yet it is fairly obvious to say that could bring its own problems, especially with Rio Ferdinand, whose brother Anton is alleged to have been racially abused by Terry in the case that will go to court on July 9. Terry strenuously denies racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.
As they raked over the debris of a tumultuous few days, the FA hierarchy have made it perfectly clear that bringing harmony to the camp will be a responsibility solely for Fabio Capello’s successor.
“If there is a problem, it’s for the manager to assess it and sort it out,” said FA chairman David Bernstein. “That’s what managers are paid for. It is not the chairman and the board’s role to get involved in day-to-day team selection.”
As someone who won 47 England caps, director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking knows exactly how easy it is for schisms and splits to appear.
However, the 63-year-old is firmly of the view that Capello’s successor should have the strength of character to overcome any hurdle.
“Whatever squad is selected, players of that level will adapt really quickly,” said Brooking.
“You don’t want to go to a tournament divided, you want the spirit, quality and atmosphere to make results. The atmosphere with the group of lads I have seen for the last 18 months is really positive. Hopefully what has happened this week will be turned around quickly.”
As Brooking acknowledges, there is still a lot of making up to do after the dreadful performances at the last World Cup. “We had a really poor tournament last time,” he said. “I’m sure Fabio will be disappointed he does not have the opportunity to rectify it. We want to emerge from this summer with something much more positive.”
The Terry conundrum will not be easy to solve. And it could have been so short term too given Bernstein’s admission that, if the court date had not been set for after Euro 2012, the 31-year-old would have been leading England out against Holland at Wembley later this month.