Capello's apology welcome but not enough
It was hardly the fresh start England manager Fabio Capello was hoping for.
Six weeks after the Three Lions were humbled by a young Germany side in the last 16 of the World Cup in South Africa, the Italian was back with his players at Arsenal's training ground on Monday morning. "Say sorry and move on" was his strategy. Not for the first time, he found his tactics did not work.
Instead, Capello found himself dealing with the fall-out from the latest botched team announcement. Why didn't he ring goalkeeper Paul Robinson and defender Wes Brown to ask them if they wanted to be included in his squad for Wednesday's friendly against Hungary before he named it?
England manager Fabio Capello answers questions from the media on Monday
Capello also found himself answering another round of difficult questions on what had gone wrong at the World Cup. Sadly for those supporters still angry at the supine way Capello's England performed in the tournament, he provided few answers.
He said he had learned from the mistakes he made in South Africa and had returned a better manager. But when pressed on what errors he had made and what lessons he had learned, he said nothing of any substance.
So what explanations did he offer?
Tiredness and the fact that England's physical conditioning going into the World Cup was not at the same level he had witnessed during a hugely successful qualifying campaign was one of them. Nothing new here as we have heard this a few times now.
Capello also suggested England's players lacked a mental toughness. This was a problem he had identified when he first took the job on in 2007. Many may question why he is no nearer to finding an answer. He even admitted on Monday that he did not know how to resolve the problem.
Most worrying of all was his suggestion that the World Cup might have turned out differently for his side had referee Jorge Larrionda awarded Frank Lampard's 'goal' in the 4-1 defeat to Germany.
No doubt many supporters will have welcomed Capello's apology - he had also said sorry on Saturday - but they will feel they have every right to ask why they have still not been given a proper explanation.
Judging Capello's new start on the basis of his first squad since the World Cup and the outcome of Wednesday's game against Hungary is always going to be difficult.
He has not made any dramatic, meaningful omissions from his squad. If he had wanted to make a grand statement, then dropping either Lampard or John Terry would have told the world he really meant business.
Ultimately, though,he knows he still needs many of the senior players who let him down in South Africa to help him steer a painless course to the finals of Euro 2012.
Similarly, none of the young players called into the team are likely to provide instant answers. Capello knows England's revival is a long, slow process and that offering up a quick fix will only increase the pressure if it does not work.
Several internationally inexperienced players will hope to impress for England against Hungary on Wednesday
And yet Wednesday's game still matters. It matters because it is the first chance to gauge the attitude of England's players, both towards Capello but also towards each other and the supporters.
And it matters to the Football Association. Wembley is only likely to be just over half full. In the circumstances, that is some achievement. Attendances for the autumn qualifiers will provide a far better measure of any backlash.
Commercially, crowds are important but there are other considerations. The England team is now without a sponsor following Nationwide's decision to let its long-term partnership lapse.
The FA figured it would be riding high after the World Cup and thus able to name its price in any auction which followed. One source told me today that, while talks were ongoing with prospective sponsors, interest had cooled and the team's form had made it much harder to convince companies to meet the FA's asking price.
Unless there's a marked improvement in the autumn, finding a replacement for Nationwide could prove difficult.
When the FA announced it would be sticking by Capello after the World Cup, it insisted the decision was made for football reasons and that having to pay the Italian £10m to sack him had nothing to do with the decision to keep him.
That may be true and Capello will now be judged on whether he can re-energise the England team at the same time as ensuring qualification for Ukraine and Poland. But with the FA already counting the cost of early elimination in South Africa, it is clear he has lost the invincible aura he enjoyed the last time England played at Wembley.