John Terry’s off-the-pitch indiscretions appear to have divided two nations after he was stripped of the England captaincy by Fabio Capello.
The England manager relieved Terry of his duties following a week of furore over the defender’s affair with former Chelsea team-mate Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel.
Terry paid the price for his actions because Capello wants to keep Bridge involved in his England plans and that spelled the end for the Chelsea defender.
Capello delivered the news to Terry at a brief meeting inside Wembley Stadium on Friday afternoon after summoning the 29-year-old to a meeting to discuss the lurid headlines of the past week.
Capello hopes his actions are enough to persuade Bridge to remain within the England set-up but while one Italian stripped Terry of the captain’s armband, fellow countryman Carlo Ancelotti was standing solidly behind him.
Terry’s behaviour has divided England fans throughout the country in the last seven days and the two Italians in charge of the player’s career at club and international level, proved to be equally at odds.
“If the private life of one player doesn’t involve or impinge upon his professional life, I don’t have a problem,” said Ancelotti.
“If John comes to the training ground but is not able to train because he’s tired or nervous, I can be interested then.
“But he comes here and trains very well. He’s always ready to train, always focused, always involved. He didn’t kill anybody. Here, he will find a good place to stay.
“I think that he is able to leave his problems outside the training ground. For this, he has a very good behaviour. He’s shown his character. He is a very strong character.
“Every coach would like to train a player like John Terry, who can train without problems with his attitude.
“I want to support John. We want to support John. It’s not an easy moment for him, I think. But nothing else.
“I have a very good relationship with John in the training ground. I’m not interested in anything else. I’m not interested in the private life of anybody.
“I train a club and Capello trains a national team. That could be different. To maintain the captain as John Terry at Chelsea is my decision.” Chelsea take on Arsenal at Stamford Bridge tomorrow looking to end Arsene Wenger’s interest in the title race for a second time.
Chelsea thought they had achieved that when they beat the Gunners 3-0 at the Emirates back in November.
But Chelsea’s poor form in December, allied to Arsenal’s resurgence, put Wenger’s side back in the title hunt.
However, with the Blues six points clear of Arsenal, Ancelotti knows the Gunners will find it hard to come back for a second time.
“We didn’t think it would be easy after that Arsenal game,” said the Italian. “We had a few difficulties.
“We didn’t do our best in that month, but we didn’t do too badly either. We won two games, drew three against Everton, West Ham and Birmingham, and lost to Manchester City. So that wasn’t too bad.”
Ancelotti believes the outcome of the clash could hinge on the attacking prowess of strikers Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba.
“I’m happy to put them on the pitch together on Sunday,” said Ancelotti. “Anelka is a fantastic player. I’ve said that every time and he can play forward alone, or with Didier, so I’m very happy with the behaviour of Anelka this season.
“I think I have two world-class strikers. Arsenal play a different way, using a lot of midfielders to control the game.”