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Gillingham FC coach Peter Taylor, who gave David Beckham England captaincy, is surprised at former Arsenal player Sol Campbell's race claim

04 March 2014

Gillingham manager Peter Taylor

Gillingham manager Peter Taylor

Gillingham boss Peter Taylor says claims made by former England defender Sol Campbell - that he was not selected as national captain because of his race - are “surprising.”

Campbell, 39, made his claims in an authorised biography serialised by the Sunday Times, and believes he could have captained England for 10 years if he had been white instead of black.

But the reports have brought criticism from players and pundits who say better candidates were available during his time with England.

“It probably surprises me to hear that because I don’t think that’s the case,” said Taylor, who was caretaker manager for England for one game in 2000. “The England managers I’ve known, to me, that never would have been the case.

“They would have looked at the captaincy, who’s the right captain for the match, it’s as simple as that. But I think Sol’s got a book out, hasn’t he, so I imagine there’s reasons to get it in the news even more.”

Campbell wasn’t involved when Taylor was manager for England’s match against Italy in 2000, and he chose to give the captain’s armband to David Beckham - a decision that has prompted some to say he was inspired by Beckham’s celebrity status.

“Even in the bit with Sol now, they’re saying it was a publicity one with David Beckham,” he said. “What a load of old rubbish that is in the respect there were three candidates - Gareth Southgate, Gary Neville and David Beckham - when I had my one game.

“In the end I went with David, simply because he deserved it because the following year after he got sent off against Argentina (France 98), he got hammered all over the place but his attitude and response was fantastic.”

Taylor said Beckham loved being with England and “never, ever cried off with injury.”
“He was always there,” he added.

"So to me, he deserved it and that’s why I made him captain and I think, since then, he’s gone on to be a very good captain for England.

“Ok, yes, there is all the fame and everything else about it because he such’s famous man now but the intention then was just to be a good captain. I think, to be fair to David, he worked extremely hard at that.”

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