x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Relationship with Ferdinand is fantastic, says Capello

The Manchester United defender and the coach bury the hatchet over the issue of England's captaincy.

LONDON // Fabio Capello revealed yesterday that he has finally held clear-the-air talks with Rio Ferdinand over his decision to strip the Manchester United defender of the England captaincy.

Capello caused a storm in March when he failed to speak to Ferdinand to inform him of his surprise move to give the skipper's armband back to John Terry.

The England coach endured a barrage of criticism for his careless handling of a delicate situation as he made an unsuccessful attempt to meet Ferdinand at Old Trafford to speak about the decision.

Ferdinand missed the first two England matches after his demotion due to injury, but the centre-half is back in Capello's squad for their Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland at Wembley tomorrow, giving the Italian a chance to make peace with one of his key players at last.

Capello met Ferdinand at the team's Grove hotel on Tuesday evening and insisted an amicable discussion ended with a friendly handshake.

"I spoke especially with him on Tuesday in the evening. I told him what really happened when I decided to make the decision to give the armband to John Terry," Capello said.

"He told me what he thought in this period and at the end we shook hands and the relationship is fantastic.

"The relationship is perfect. We spoke personally and privately."

Terry, the England captain, insists he and Ferdinand are comfortable as teammates as they prepare to play together for the first time in 13 months.

"Things are not uncomfortable between us, not at all," he said.

"Rio has got an awful lot to give in the dressing room anyway, which he naturally will, like the [other] older players in the squad.

"We made contact before anything happened between ourselves. It stays private between us, but it is all OK and very much similar to when I lost the armband to Rio. I made contact with him and he was fine. It was just about doing the right thing for our country."

With the Ferdinand situation defused, Capello also answered criticism of his decision to allow his England players to go on holiday in the days leading up to this international week.

After the Premier League season finished on May 22, many of Capello's squad jetted off for sunshine breaks, but the Italian believes the time away from the game has refreshed their minds at the end of a gruelling season.

"They returned happy and I needed to stop the training sometimes because they were too happy," Capello said. "They were happy to be playing with the ball after one week away. They were playing like children!"

That kind of carefree attitude is a far-cry from the boredom that crippled Capello's squad during their World Cup training camp in South Africa and he has learnt from that debacle.

If England do qualify for Euro 2012, Capello plans to give his players at least 10 days off before the tournament rather than taking them away for weeks of training and friendly matches.

"They will have a minimum of 10 days or two weeks on holidays. Yes, I trust them to be good, why not?"

Neither Terry or Capello could be drawn on the subject of Sepp Blatter, but were relieved that the intense pre-match public focus they are used to has been on world football's governing body instead, after the English Football Association decided to rebel against the president at the Fifa Congress.

"It is quite nice with so many things going on," Terry said. "We are just enjoying not being on the back pages and looking forward to this game."

Even though the FA failed to defeat the Swiss president of Fifa, the England players could put a further dent in any hopes Blatter had of seeing Switzerland qualifying.

Capello also revealed strikers Peter Crouch and Bobby Zamora were fit for selection after recovering from injuries to train yesterday, and insisted he was happy with England's goalkeeper situation despite the international retirement of Ben Foster.

Robert Green had to be persuaded to reverse his decision to retire from England duty after a lack of opportunities.

* Agencies