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Page last updated at 15:39 GMT, Wednesday, 23 March 2011

England stars Crouch & Milner back Terry as captain

EURO 2012 QUALIFIER: WALES v ENGLAND
Venue: Millennium Stadium Date: Saturday 26 March Kick-off: 1500 GMT Coverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 live, BBC Radio Wales Sport and online; full text coverage on BBC Sport website; also live on Sky Sports

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Crouch supports captaincy call

England players Peter Crouch and James Milner have thrown their backing behind manager Fabio Capello's decision to reinstate John Terry as captain.

Terry has controversially returned in place of Rio Ferdinand after being dropped from the role amid allegations over his private life 13 months ago.

"It's the manager's call and there are no problems from anyone," said Crouch. "I'm pleased for John and we move on."

Milner added: "JT has shown week in, week out what a good leader he is."

Tuesday's news conference was the first opportunity for any England player to speak with the media after Terry faced the press for the first time since his reinstatement on Monday.

Terry admitted he was "not everybody's cup of tea" amid speculation there was unrest in the camp about Capello's decision, ahead of Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales in Cardiff.

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But Crouch said the captaincy issue had not even been broached by the players and Chelsea skipper Terry - who could only look on as the armband was passed around among his team-mates in the friendly with Denmark last month - had everyone's support.

"We've not really talked about it, no," said the Spurs striker. "It's between the manager and the captain, whoever he wants to pick.

"There's a lot of talk of unrest but it's not an issue. John Terry has always been fantastic on the pitch, leading Chelsea to Doubles, and he'll be good for us again.

"It is a shame for Rio because he's a top player and great to have around because he's a natural leader too. It's a shame that he's had so many injuries and that's probably why the manager decided to make the change rather than have the armband being passed around.

"The manager wanted to stick with JT and that's fine with all of us."

Squad is full of leaders - Milner

Milner believes it is crucial that the more experienced players in the England squad all act like captains, and says it is more important that they continue to improve as a team.

"It's business as usual, the manager's made a decision and everyone's happy for JT and disappointed for Rio," said the Manchester City midfielder.

"We have lots of good leaders and you need more than one anyway. It helps to have so much experience around and we've got a good combination of that as well as the younger players.

"JT has shown with Chelsea and the times he plays for England, he puts his head in where people wouldn't go and he leads off the field too. It's important to have a link between players and management, and players who will say what they think.

"A few things have changed from the World Cup, but ultimately all that is important is that we keep trying to get better and better.

"On paper we know we can beat anyone and we've started the qualifying campaign pretty well. Fabio has the trust of the squad, we stand behind him and hopefully we can keep getting wins on the board."

Meanwhile, Everton's Phil Jagielka, who is hoping to win his eighth England cap alongside Terry in the heart of defence, said the reinstated skipper had been going about his business as usual in training.

"He's the first to smash you in training, he's the first to shake your hand and pick you up, that's the type of guy he is," said Jagielka.

"He was obviously gutted inside [when he was removed as captain] but he never let that show, there was no dip in his performances without the armband.

"But he'll be delighted to have it back and there'll be a spring in his step on Saturday.

"It makes me smile when I read stuff like that, that there's a divide in the camp. If there's a divide I must be partially sighted because I can't see anything.

"He's a nice guy, he speaks to everyone, he's got no best or worst friends, and from a personal point of view I'm delighted to have him as a captain."

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see also
Wales can beat England, says Bale
23 Mar 11 |  Welsh
Terry admits to dividing opinion
22 Mar 11 |  Football
Focus Forum - McClaren's warning to Capello
22 Mar 11 |  Football Focus
Terry looks to inspire new generation
22 Mar 11 |  School Report
FA chairman backs Terry decision
22 Mar 11 |  Football
Ferdinand 'committed to England'
21 Mar 11 |  Football
Terry returns as England captain
20 Mar 11 |  Football


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