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'England stars must take responsibility for actions'

sports Updated: Mar 28, 2009 12:59 IST

AFP
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John Terry admits England's stars have a responsibility to clean up their act after the rash of negative headlines around several of Fabio Capello's squad.

Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard have been involved in high-profile flashpoints on and off the pitch recently that raised questions about the discipline of English players.

Chelsea defender Cole was arrested for being drunk and disorderly after police were unable to calm him down following an incident with photographers outside a west London restaurant.

Manchester United forward Rooney was sent off on Saturday for throwing the ball at the referee during his side's defeat at Fulham. Rooney then punched a corner flag as he stormed off.

Gerrard faces charges of affray after an nightclub row in Southport ended with a DJ nursing a cut face and broken tooth.

Fabio Capello gathered his England squad together when they arrived to prepare for Saturday's friendly against Slovakia and this Wednesday's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine to remind them of their responsibilities.

And England captain Terry, who is no stranger to controversy himself, insists it is down to the players to stay out of trouble.

"We all know the discipline needed to be part of the England squad and we need to show respect for the management. We have to set an example to kids," he said.

"Sometimes on the pitch things can over-heated and things but that comes with passion.

"Of the field there are going to be incidents, sometimes they are not the truth, but sometimes there is a lot of truth thrown in.

"But the main thing for us players is to play well, keep our discipline on and off the field if we can, and play well for our clubs and keep out of the limelight.

"As a younger player I have certainly made my mistakes over the years and I have definitely learned from that. As a player you need to go through those, although people might not agree with me, but I think you have to have your bad times to learn.

"If you keep making your mistakes over and over again then that is when you have an issue."

There was more bad publicity for Terry on Friday when newspaper reports revealed that his mother and mother in law had been cautioned for taking 800 pounds worth of goods from a supermarket without paying for them.

Terry refused to be drawn on the issue but insisted it wouldn't affect his performances.

"I've seen different headlines over the years about myself and other things about family and as a player you learn to deal with that," he said.

"The lads have seen the headline and that's it. Solicitors are dealing with it but it doesn't affect me on the pitch or off the pitch. I've seen many headlines over the years and I'll continue to get on with my football."

After some unconvincing displays at Wembley since the English national stadium was re-opened two years ago, Terry believes England are finally ready to make the most of home advantage.

Capello's side have four matches still to play on home turf during the qualifying campaign, so their attempt to reach South Africa will effectively be decided in north London.

"We've shrugged off the fear factor a little bit. The players are full of confidence. We have a smile on our face in training and we are playing our normal game," Terry said.

"We had a good start at Wembley then things dropped off a little bit. We had a really good performance against the Russians when we won 3-0 but obviously didn't go on to do what we wanted to do.

"We have a lot of home games to come. The fans love to see us winning which is the main thing and a nice performance to top that off would be perfect.

"But sometimes we over assess things and look at things too much. the main thing is we get the three points next Wednesday, that's what we are building to."