Former France and Chelsea defender Marcel Desailly feels Steven Gerrard does not have the qualities to succeed John Terry as England captain.
The Liverpool veteran was named the Three Lions' skipper in the summer by manager Roy Hodgson, after Terry was stripped of the captaincy following allegations he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League match last season.
The Blues' centre back retired from national duty over the weekend, hours before the Football Association started its disciplinary hearing against the player. The 31 year old was found not guilty of the same offence by the Westminster Magistrates' Court in July.
"I'm disappointed for John since he is a quality player who knows the highest level. The English team loses a lot. John is a leader. He is the captain, Steven Gerrard is not. Gerrard is a soloist, a great player but has no impact off the field. In the life of the group, the leader is John Terry," Sky Sports quoted Desailly as saying.
"It is a complicated story. It's not just 'I no longer want to'. This is a larger problem with the Football Association. It is also a way for him to protect himself. You must remember that at Chelsea, players past 30 years of age can only sign contracts for one year. At 31 years of age, John perhaps wants to protect his future as a footballer and try to get himself an extension of two years," the 44 year old pointed out.
Desailly was highly critical of the FA for their treatment of his former Chelsea team mate and blamed the association for stripping Terry of the England captaincy.
"It's sad. The national team is what gives you the biggest exposure in your career. It is the FA who have put him in difficulty, who have not protected him when they should have. The FA took a sporting decision without consulting with the national team manager," The Sun quoted the former AC Milan star.
Desailly joined Chelsea in 1998 - the year Terry broke into the club's first team - and spent six seasons at Stamford Bridge, making over 200 appearances for the Blues, winning the UEFA Super Cup in 1998 and the FA Cup in 2000.
Meanwhile, Terry's hearing with the FA has entered its third day at Wembley Stadium.