PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa -
England coach Fabio Capello has ruled out dropping John Terry for today's crucial World Cup game against Slovenia despite his annoyance at the central defender's outspoken comments about the team's poor performances.
Capello said Tuesday there was no possibility he would leave out Terry as a punishment. But he declined to talk more about Terry's comments, which have led to reports that there is major unrest within the squad, with players questioning the coach's methods, tactics and selections.
"It's normal to speak with the players," Capello said. "We are focused on the game. We've been training very well. We know that the game tomorrow will be really, really important, not what one player can speak about."
Capello added that Terry "is one of the most important players," before asking reporters to let him "speak about the game, not about John Terry questions."
England is in danger of going out in the first round if it fails to beat Slovenia after drawing games with the United States and Algeria. The 0-0 draw with the Algerians led to Capello's team being booed off the field in Cape Town.
"It's a really important game. I think (Algeria) is out of the minds of the players," he said.
"I am happy because I saw that the players are really focused on the game.
Asked what his relationship was with the players, Capello replied: "Really good. Every time when I speak with the players, they follow me.
"The players are happy, training very well. At this moment the results are not very good. We didn't lose, but we didn't win. At this moment, we are in a playoff, in or out. We are ready to play. The players know there is only one result for us."
Steven Gerrard, who took over as England captain after Rio Ferdinand was injured during a pre-World Cup warmup game, said the players wanted to forget the fallout from Terry's media conference.
"I've watched John's interview and he's obviously a passionate player, but it's time to move on," the Liverpool midfielder said.
"It's important that we focus on the game because it's a do or die situation."
Although England came into the competition with high hopes of a first World Cup triumph since 1966, it is instead trying to avoid opening-round elimination for the first time since 1958.
There seemed no sign of the problems currently damaging England's World Cup campaign when Capello guided the team smoothly to the finals with a record of nine wins out of 10 qualifying games.
But 2010 has produced a catalogue of problems for the Italian, starting with the headlines created by Terry, who is married, and his relationship with the ex-girlfriend of England teammate Wayne Bridge. Capello took the captaincy away from Terry and Bridge refused to play for the national team.
Injuries to David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Aaron Lennon and Gareth Barry and the poor end-of season form of Rooney and several more of Capello's regular players added to his problems.
England then threw away a fourth-minute lead against the Americans to wind up with a 1-1 draw, and the team produced one it its worst ever World Cup performances by drawing 0-0 with an Algeria side it was expected to beat by several goals.
That means England faces a Slovenia side which is top of Group C with four points, having beaten the Algerians. The United States and England have two and Algeria is last with one. While England and Slovenia meet in Port Elizabeth, Algeria and the Americans face each other in Pretoria at the same kickoff time.