England defeat lackluster US at Wembley


Fri, May 30, 2008 - Page 23

Fabio Capello admits that appointing England’s permanent captain will be one of the toughest decisions of his career.

Capello watched from the Wembley touchline as John Terry staked his claim to the skipper’s armband with a resolute performance capped by the first goal in England’s 2-0 friendly win over the US on Wednesday.

Terry was leading England for the first time since September, as Capello made the Chelsea defender his third captain in three matches after previously trying out Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand in the role.

It was a cathartic moment for Terry just seven days after his penalty miss cost Chelsea the Champions League final against Manchester United.

But he is not certain to retain the captaincy when England’s World Cup qualifiers kick off against Andorra in September because Capello insists he does not yet know the best man for the job.

“It is not an easy decision. We have good captains, but I will decide. I don’t know yet,” he said. “When I will decide we will talk with the players. Usually I announce it when we are together.”

Terry is likely to be one of seven Chelsea and United players who will be allowed to miss Sunday’s friendly against Trinidad and Tobago after their exertions in the Champions League final.

Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Joe Cole, Wayne Rooney, Owen Hargreaves and Wes Brown are the others set to be excused the 10-hour flight.

And that could mean Gareth Barry becomes the latest player to lead the team out in Port of Spain.

The drawn-out saga of England’s captaincy will quickly fade from memory when England begin the serious business of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.

Capello could take heart from his second win in three matches in charge, but the US were such lackluster opposition that it was hard to read too much into an already low-key fixture.

After a woeful opening notable only for the numerous occasions England squandered possession, Terry broke the deadlock in the 38th minute with a bullet header from David Beckham’s free-kick.

Bob Bradley’s visitors threatened to equalize only once when Eddie Johnson lashed just wide soon after half-time.

A raft of substitutions followed from both managers and it was one of those replacements, Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry, who set up the second goal in the 59th minute.

His astute pass sent Gerrard clear and he calmly slotted past substitute goalkeeper Brad Guzan. That was enough to send the 71,000 crowd home relatively happy.