IT DID NOT take the new, official, 100%, England captain Steven Gerrard long to stick the boot into his former coach Fabio Capello.
The skipper, anointed to the holy ‘C’ by Roy Hodgson, has hit out at Capello for not having complete faith in his abilities as a leader of men.
The Liverpool midfielder has taken over the captaincy from Scott Parker for the friendlies against Norway and Belgium and, beyond that, the Euros.
Gerrard commented, “Capello always had belief in me as a player but it was clear he didn’t have total belief for me to be official captain.” He added:
This manager has come in and done that – it’s very nice and good for my confidence and belief. I’ll do this for as long as the manager wants me to.
With Gerrard up front and centre for coin tosses, pennant swapping and press conference chinwags, it seems the English captaincy merry-go-round has finally come to a halt.
The midfielder was one of six captains that took to the field during the Italian’s time in charge.
Indeed, it was Capello’s staunch backing of John Terry as captain for Euro 2012 that led to his resignation as coach earlier this year.
Gerrard, however, feels England will benefit from the captaincy question being resolved.
“It feels like the first time I’ve been official captain,” he said. “All the other times, I’ve known the armband was going to go back, either after the tournament or individual games.” Gerrard added:
You’ve got to relish it. It’s fantastic. It’s something I’ve always dreamed of. I’ve been in this set-up for a long time, so I’m big enough to handle this responsibility.
One player that has backed Gerrard to thrive with the added responsibility is his former Liverpool teammate John Arne Riise, who will line-up for Norway against England this evening.
He said, “I remember the second half of the Champions League final when we were 3-0 down. (Steven) played right-back, centre-back, right midfield, centre midfield and striker.
“That is the perfect captain and the perfect player.”