England manager Fabio Capello moved to reassert complete control over his squad on Monday after successfully deflecting a proposed challenge to his authority by disgruntled players.
Former captain John Terry suggested the time had come for the players to speak their mind after a stuttering start to their campaign but ended up in danger of being left isolated within the England camp after senior teammates reacted with dismay to him going public with their desire for a clear-the-air meeting with the manager.
Terry was eventually persuaded against speaking at the meeting by a member of Capello's coaching staff. Capello nevertheless made some concessions to appease his squad, including abandoning his policy of informing players of his line-up only two hours before kick-off.
Capello also expressed a willingness to enter into more dialogue with his squad but, while player power appears to have been largely nullified, Terry's comments served to expose the tension within the England set-up. Frustration has mounted after successive draws left them needing to beat Slovenia to avoid elimination at the group stage for the first time since 1958.
Terry faced the media on Monday “on behalf of the team” and suggested he would head a group of players in expressing their concerns. “The players can say how they feel and, if it upsets him (Capello), then I'm on the verge of just saying: ‘You know what? So what?’” said Terry. “If we can't be honest with each other, then there's no point us being here.”