John Terry has been stripped of the England captain’s armband following talks with coach Fabio Capello on Friday, according to reports.
The Chelsea center-back held a meeting with Capello at Wembley following a week of tabloid allegations concerning an alleged affair with an ex-partner of Manchester City left-back Wayne Bridge.
And although the Football Association have refused to comment on reports that Terry has been sacked as England captain, speculation is mounting that the 29-year-old defender has been axed as his country’s skipper.
Terry’s demotion, reported by Sky News, would be a bitter blow for player and manager.
When most pundits expected Capello to name Rio Ferdinand as his skipper prior to the friendly with the Czech Republic in August 2008, the Italian instead turned to Terry as his on-pitch leader.
It was felt the Chelsea star was better at galvanizing players around him, with Capello paying little attention to the wider role many believed Ferdinand was more capable of fulfilling.
Terry has done everything asked of him as England have marched on towards this summer’s World Cup in South Africa.
But there have been issues away from the pitch that have not sat easily with bosses at the FA.
Both Terry’s parents have been in the headlines for the wrong reasons, while the defender himself was accused of using his role as England skipper for personal gain when an agency to which he was linked included his status in an e-mail offering the player’s services to enhance their business.
Terry emerged unscathed from all of this until last week, when a super-injunction, preventing details of an alleged affair with Vanessa Perroncel from being reported, was lifted by the High Court.
As the former girlfriend of Bridge and mother of the City defender’s son, Perroncel’s name brought with it a sense of scandal that only intensified with Terry’s efforts to keep the affair private.