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Soccer: Terry Named England Captain
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John Terry's development into one of England's most dependable players was completed Thursday when he was named captain of the national team.

Having broken up the established central defensive partnership of Rio Ferdinand and Sol Campbell over the past two years to become first-choice pick, the 25-year-old has now succeeded David Beckham as the team's on-field leader.

"John has all the attributes an international captain needs: leadership, authority, courage, ability, tactical awareness and a total refusal to accept second-best," England coach Steve McClaren said. "He has been an inspiration for Chelsea and is at his best in adversity."

McClaren, who took over from Sven-Goran Eriksson as England coach last week, also picked Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard _ Terry's main rival for the role _ as the vice captain.

Terry has been captain of English champion Chelsea since 2003 and led the Blues to back-to-back Premier League titles.

"Choosing a captain is one of the most important decisions a coach has to make," McClaren said. "I'm certain I've got the right man in John Terry. I'm convinced he will prove to be one of the best captains England has ever had."

Terry has 29 England caps, making his debut against Serbia-Montenegro on June 3, 2003. He cemented his starting place at the 2004 European Championship, when central defender Rio Ferdinand was serving a suspension for missing a doping test.

"It is the ultimate honor to be the captain of your country and I am very proud to be given this great opportunity," Terry said. "It is an incredible challenge and one I am looking forward to very much."

Terry has been at Chelsea since he was 14 and played under four managers in the first team. Even with the high-profile signings funded by the club's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich, Terry has become a mainstay of the side after reforming off-field misbehavior that threatened to blight his career.

Beckham, who had been England captain for five years, stepped down from the role after England was eliminated in the World Cup quarterfinals on July 1 by Portugal on penalties.

"He's a tremendous leader for Chelsea and has all the qualities required to do the role," Gerrard said.
Former England captain David Platt agreed.

"John's an intelligent player and has grown as a person in the last few years," Platt said. "International players all have big egos and whoever has the armband needs to have immediate respect, and also has to be brave enough to take people's opinions on board."

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has called the powerfully built Terry 'the best center-back in the world.' On Thursday, Mourinho said Terry was the right choice.

"He loves to work, loves to win, loves to make people happy and confident," Mourinho said. "He is a captain."

In 2005, Terry was voted player of the year by his fellow professionals in the Premier League _ the first Chelsea player to win the award.

And this year, he was the only Englishman selected by FIFA's Technical Study Group for a 23-man World Cup all-star squad.

Terry originally started out as a midfielder before moving to central defense. His early career was marked by off-the-field incidents involving drunken behavior.

He and former Chelsea teammate Jody Morris were charged with assaulting a nightclub bouncer outside a London club in January 2002. They were both cleared by a jury seven months later.

The two were also among four Chelsea players reprimanded and fined after engaging in drunken and disorderly behavior at a hotel near Heathrow airport in September 2001.

The hotel was crowded with American travelers stranded by flight cancellations after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

(AP via China Daily August 11, 2006)

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