MOSCOW: Fabio Capello has been assured that he can chose whoever he wants as captain of Russia after signing a two-year contract to guide the 2018 World Cup hosts towards the 2014 finals.

Capello quit England early this year in protest at the decision of the Football Association to sack John Terry as skipper – over the Anton Ferdinand racist comment issue – without consulting him.

Capello had suggested that Arsenal midfielder Andrei Arshavin could lose the captain’s armband, and expressed concern about the player’s deteriorating relationship with Russian fans.

“I should get to know Arshavin, to understand how this situation arose between him and the fans and then talk about the captain’s armband,” Capello said.

Whether or not Arshavin retains the captaincy, the Russian FA will not interfere, said Simonyan. He added: “If the coach thinks that Arshavin will be the captain, then he will be. If not then he will not. Capello picks the players, who plays in what position, selects who’s the leader, who’s the captain.”

Capello’s reign kicks off with a friendly against the Ivory Coast on August 15. Russia then launch their  World Cup qualifying campaign at home to Northern Ireland on September 7 and in Israel on September 11.


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