LONDON -- Chelsea defender John Terry was selected England's soccer captain Thursday, succeeding David Beckham.
Beckham, who had been captain for five years, stepped down after England was eliminated in the World Cup quarterfinals by Portugal on July 1.
"Choosing a captain is one of the most important decisions a coach has to make," new coach Steve McClaren said. "I'm certain I've got the right man in John Terry. I'm convinced he will prove to be one of the best captains England has ever had."
The 25-year-old Terry has been Chelsea captain since 2003, leading the Blues to back-to-back Premier League titles.
"It is the ultimate honor to be the captain of your country and I am very proud to be given this great opportunity," Terry said.
Terry has 29 England caps, making his debut against Serbia-Montenegro on June 3, 2003. He cemented his starting place at the 2004 European Championship, when central defender Rio Ferdinand was serving a suspension for missing a doping test.
"John has all the attributes an international captain needs: leadership, authority, courage, ability, tactical awareness and a total refusal to accept second-best," McClaren said on the Football Association's Web site. "He has been an inspiration for Chelsea and is at his best in adversity."
McClaren picked Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard -- Terry's main rival for the captaincy -- as the vice captain.
Terry's first match as England captain will be Wednesday's friendly against Greece at Old Trafford.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press