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Capello on the defensive

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Phil McNulty | 15:47 UK time, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Fabio Capello would not have expected an in-depth inquisition about Egypt's threat or England's lack of an official World Cup song. And he was not to be disappointed.

This was Capello on the back foot at England's London Colney training base as he was quizzed about weightier, and highly-contentious issues, ahead of Wednesday's Wembley friendly. The word "Egypt" barely merited a single mention.

Capello's opening salvo was a plea to England's fans not to jeer John Terry, repeating the call made by Wayne Rooney after the Chelsea defender was deposed as captain amid allegations of a relationship with the ex-partner of former team-mate Wayne Bridge.

And so it went on as Capello played out a verbal "catenaccio", mounting a stern defence and hoping to finally bolt the door on the sideshows that have provided a backdrop of off-the-field distractions to the Italian's World Cup plans.


capello595_afp.jpgCapello was quizzed about the morals of his squad. Photograph: AFP

England's stand-in captain Steven Gerrard revealed Capello had delivered a "short and sweet" message to the players before their first training session on Monday. Focus on football. Nothing else.

As for Capello, he occasionally showed signs of irritation that he was being subjected to questions on matters away from football - and his body language hinted strongly that he does not expect to have to speak about his players in such circumstances again.

"The private life is a big problem for some players, but also a big problem for their club and, at the end, for me," Capello admitted.

And so it proved as he was asked about the morals of his squad, responding on one occasion by asking an inquisitor; "Why do you have to speak about this for so long a time? Are you interested in the game or interested in the life of the players?"

Capello's problem is that the private lives of some of his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid.

Nevertheless, he will hope to have killed off further discussion and you suspect any player causing him to revisit this uncomfortable territory can expect to be making alternative arrangements to the World Cup this summer.

Capello was forced to expound his theories on the example his players must set to young and old, as well as and the problems of controlling "young boys, rich boys" in football around the world.

He also confirmed he had watched Terry in training, as well as in Milan and at Stamford Bridge in the last week, and concluded his form was "good" - confirmation that behind the iron mask he is capable of moments of huge generosity.

And courtesy of the man from German newspaper "Bild" Capello was even forced to digest those two staples of any England World Cup build-up - WAGs and penalty shoot-outs.

What is obvious is that Capello has made it abundantly clear that there is now no room for manouevre with England's squad. The Italian only wants to talk football with the World Cup less than 100 days away.

And his frustration will have been increased by the realisation he has more important footballing matters to address than delve into the off-the-field behaviour of England's squad.

Form and fitness have placed a large question mark over England's World Cup hopes. This Egypt friendly is Capello's first opportunity to start finding answers. He will therefore have wanted his whole focus trained on this game, not events he will regard as being firmly on the periphery of his remit as England coach.

Capello has yet to be presented with a convincing case by any of England's goalkeepers, while full-backs Glen Johnson and Ashley Cole have been hit by long-term injuries, Rio Ferdinand's regular presence in central defence cannot be relied upon either, while Terry, whether co-incidental or not, has hit a trough in form after his personal problems.

All these issues will be followed on an almost daily basis by Capello - but he is crystal clear on one tactical matter. Wayne Rooney will never play as a lone striker.

Rooney's magnificent displays as a one-man attack at Manchester United have prompted understandable calls (not least from here) to utilise him in similar fashion with England, pushing Gerrard just in behind.

It will not be happening. Capello made as much very clear, so it is audition time for Emile Heskey, Peter Crouch and Carlton Cole between now and the World Cup.

Capello said: "I can choose one big forward, one small forward. Anything else? Never. My style is always two forwards, with the other one very close."

Surprising, but Capello knows best. It would appear he is locked into the Heskey theory, staking his faith in a striker who does not score goals but sees his obvious flaw outweighed by his overall contribution.

capello_terry_ap.jpgCapello stripped Terry of the England captaincy last month. Photograph: AP

Rooney will be the centrepiece of England's campaign, however, a fact acknowledged in good-humoured fashion by Gerrard when it was put to him that the nation will descend into a form of mourning should the striker fall victim to injury before the World Cup.

"What does that say about all the rest of us?" asked a smiling Gerrard before fully taking the point.

The World Cup fashion parade will also extend to cementing the goalkeeping position, deciding between Aston Villa's Stephen Warnock and Everton's Leighton Baines at left-back and giving Theo Walcott a chance to restate his claims to begin the South African campaign on the right flank.

Capello can turn his total attention back to plotting England's World Cup campaign at Wembley on Wednesday - and you suspect it will come as an almighty relief.

You can follow me throughout this season at twitter.com/philmcnulty and join me on Facebook.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    Do our tabloid press have a death wish for England?

    Every world cup it is the same, attack the coach with fake sheiks and other put up nonsense, and the Captain with a similar set of stings.

    Capello is clearly not the sort to accept this nonsense.

    Do you think he will do a Sir Alex and start banning media organisations that attack England?

  • Comment number 2.

    Honestly i think if a team is relying on players like Peter Crouch then they have no chance of winning the World Cup. It defies belief that a 6 foot 6 man can be so totally inept in the air...

    However, on a more positive note. Some these issues are probably best being aired now, in advance of the world cup rather than during it. There does seem to be a perverse media joy in digging up juicy gossip on England stars, especially when there is increased focus on them. I don't know about other countries, but i don't think they delight in quite the same way as us Brits do in knocking our stars down a peg or two.

  • Comment number 3.

    WorldCupMadness

    =====================================================

    i cannot begin to tell you just how angry the media makes me. its alomost like it enjoys trying to sabotage our hopes, then after the world cup i bet you suddenly see headlines like "Where did it all go wrong?"


    lets just get back to the football tomorrow night, our players need to give a big performance now more than ever

  • Comment number 4.

    England is just overated. leo benhhaker has said,a team relying on heskey,crouch,carton cole and no goalkeeper is dreaming to win the world cup,its laughable.england is a media team,thier football is on the pages of newspaper.the team is already distracted.for goodness sake wayne bridge is not important as the media want us to believe

  • Comment number 5.

    i will prefer agbonlahor and owen to crouch or heskey,world cup is a serious business,seems england is going on tourism to S/A with wags.the england locker room is already divided,that is the view here in north america

  • Comment number 6.

    Please, please, please can sports journalists at press conferences just ask Capello and his collegues about sport?

    Oliver Holt made a point about the 5live coverage the other day to Gabby Logan and although he was rude he had a point, please stop using front pages to justify sporting questions

  • Comment number 7.

    Re Wayne Bridge.

    Why is the private affairs of his ex-girlfriend any business of Wayne Bridge?

    Why is the private affairs of any ex-girfriend the business of any ex-boyfriend?

    Has the british press gone mad?

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    As usual, the gutter press sink to their normal low level.

    Capello must be thinking can it get any worse. But he's a single minded man and wont take much more of this. I am sure he would rather the sleazy focus is on him, than the players. But I bet he will start to circumcise questions about private lives as we get closer to the knockouts and get the paperazzi to talk football instead.

  • Comment number 10.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 13.

    If the stupid British sports writers actually concentrated on debating what goes on, on the pitch maybe it would breed a deeper understanding of the game we claim to love so much, instead they choose to go for headline making, sensationalist, 'celeb culture' rubbish.

    Only after failure do they which to analyse things at a greater depth and look to assign blame on someone or for the shortcomings in how our nation cant play as well as the foreigners who we taught how to play in the first place.

    The media helps perpetuate this viscous cycle of hiding the real issues of why this country has not been successful and instead chooses these types of topics to discuss and thus helps raising yet more generations of football fans and players who know nothing about strategy, technical ability and real football knowledge (I'm NOT talking about who plays left back for Preston north end or who won the cup in 73')
    There are very few good football writers in this country, most choose either to give their two pence on this sort of thing or to talk to us all like some 10 year old that has just seen his first game of football in the way they analyse games.

    This layman approach speaks volumes of their own lack of knowledge on the game and is indicative of why we as a nation have to hire more and more foreigners to play and manage in our own domestic leagues, even our national coach!

  • Comment number 14.

    Perhaps all this talk of Terry/Bridge can actually be a good thing for the team, when a team come under pressure it can often pull them together in a siege mentallity. Mourinho and Fergusson are two perfect examples of managers who have used media talk to get a reaction from big players. Im sure all the playrs want to do is get on the pitch and let the football do the talking, instead of building England up before a major event which is usually the case, people are doubting the team this time. The team has no where as many problems as people think, James, Green and Hart are all easily good enough as are baines and warnock when you consider Ashley Cole will most likely be fit anyway...... People just need to calm down and not get carried away looking for stories in the meantime

  • Comment number 15.

    I'm a die-hard Liverpool fan but I really think that Rooney should be England captain. All the other choices have their flaws as well and Steven Gerrard just isn't the same confident talisman he has been in the past. Since he got married Rooney has matured immeasurably. His petulance is gone and he is now IMHO the best player in the world--power, pace, vision, and now he can head a ball incredibly well. It is too bad that Capello will not adapt to a United-type set-up with pacey wingers and lots of movement, i.e. build the team around Rooney as France did with Zidane, Argentina with Maradona, etc. I see England going out on penalties at some point if he sticks to Heskey--there just won't be enough goals and unpredictability to beat the very top sides such as Spain and Brazil. I support Scotland so it won't break my heart, mind...

  • Comment number 16.

    For some reason, I can see Rooney getting injured again, just like last time. His form is just too good at the minute for something not to go wrong. Can he stay fit and maintain his best-player-in-the-world level for the next 4 months? I sincerely hope so.

    The biggest question mark over England at the minute is the defence. Rio hasn't played this season and is supposed to captain us. On paper we have a world class defence, but going from Johnson-Terry-Ferdinand-Cole to Brown-Lescott-Upson-Baines makes very, very grim reading.

    Mustn't forget Aaron Lennon who is in danger of missing the world cup. His pace would be a serious asset for England, and it is vital he gets fit, as Walcott has had a stinker of a season albeit plagued with injuries.

    I'd suggest that actually, England have never really played well under Capello, except twice against Croatia, and the optimism from that 5-1 thrashing last September is fading as the best players in our squad get injured, and one of Capello's tactical nightmares - playing Heskey - sees no signs of end.

    I agree with Phil, with everyone fit play a front three of Rooney being supported by Gerrard and Lennon. This will give the midfield more bite and allow England to drop a non-goalscoring striker. If we're relying on hold up play to get us to World Cup glory, we're going to be disappointed. I understand the tactic, but you need to be seriously capable to win a World Cup, and having Heskey as a target man and nothing else is not a world cup winning formula.

    The goalkeeper situation is equally depressing. I predict tomorrow against Egypt a drab performance, perhaps a win, but the crowd will be getting on the players' backs like before and we'll all be drained of optimism. I rather suspect that a Phil McNulty blog will published on Thursday asking the question 'How can England possibly win the World Cup!?" At this moment in time, there is no chance. There are teams superior in Europe - Spain and Holland, while Brazil will be fantastic this year. England do fortunately have a good draw to cling on to, but the injured players need to get quick, fast. And we need a number 1 to step forward.

  • Comment number 17.

    I am not English and from the outside the whole WAG/media circus is always a burden for the English team to carry. I guess it doesn't help that the typical English footballer seems to be all caught up in the fame/fortune syndrome. Do the bookies still have them as one of the favourites to win the World Cup?

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    I don't agree with 'Gavella' regarding the back 4. I think the way we are going it will be Johnson-Jagielka-Terry-Cole.. I HOPE it is Johnson-Jagielka-Ferdinand-Bridge though as they are all men I could cheer for AND WOULD LOVE TO SEE THEM PLAY IN A FINAL.

  • Comment number 20.

    Have to agree with Gavelaa (#16) except on a few points.
    The biggest of which being the apparent choice of left back! There is one person I'd like at left back for England...and that is (C)Ashley Cole. Failing him, I'd take Baines; and not as a 'substitute' or a 'coping' or a 'dealing with'...If Cole was not available, I would want Baines at left back. He has enough defensive nous to put in a good tackle when needed, but is attack minded enough to bomb forward if required and deliver a killer ball into the box. Rather him than Warnock any day; and not just because I'm an Everton fan.

    My problem at the moment is the choice of left mid! Who the hell will fill that position. I will be astonished of Joe Cole doesn't get the nod, because, being honest, he may have been out some time with injury but, being fair, he has gone out injured recently mainly due to consistently playing games and (aside from argueing the point that Ferdinand, i.e. Mr. Injury-Ban is our captain and Gerrard "Captain Fantastic at always having something Wrong" our vice-captain); since being waylayed, he seems to have learned that cutting inside 25-30 yards from the goal and trying to curl a shot in is only one way of being a hero...the other being his new found skill; crossing! He is a guy who can place a ball on a pin head from 40 yards away and, with Rooney's newfound heading ability what do we want for shaking up the rest of the world's defences...erm...crosses into the box maybe!? I mean, failing Rooney whacking his suddenly immaculate head on it, even Heskey could score a goal from a good cross; and, if you were Brazil's defence in the 89th minute of a world cup final; would you have all your defenders on Rooney; who could thread a double decker bus through the eye of a needle with his head at the moment, or Heskey, who could put a ball in the back of the net given a chance!? Just makes sense to have players who can cross a ball, and Joe Cole is one of them. Don't mean to be an armchair manager, but I've always admired J. Cole as a player, but felt he was a little naive and always trying to be the goalscoring hero...seems out of that phase now and I'd trust him to put a ball or two into the box...More so than Theo "I'll get a hatrick against Croatia and then fails to boing against a bovine backside with a banjo" Walcott; crosses and shots included.

  • Comment number 21.

    I am entirely on Capello's side when it comes to discussing players' private lives. Questions about them are not valid simply because the media decide they are of public interest. Selling juicy copy may well be in the business interests of the media, but that's a horse of a different colour. Stick to football reporting, and forget about first provoking and then pandering to prurient curiosity. What's more, as has been remarked, the last thing the players need is this kind of distraction from what matters to them and their supporters - the public you are purportedly out to inform.

  • Comment number 22.

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  • Comment number 23.

    i think heskey will be a great partner for rooney in the world cup. he creates spac efor others, and if he can give rooney an extra half yard of space he will score!! if he's in this form (20 goals in 20 games) at the world cup we have a very serious chance of winning. yeah, we don't have the names that other counties have, but superstars in a team don't make them win, man city aren't doing much, even though they may have more superstar names than united (i did say may).

  • Comment number 24.

    As usual, the media talk about the media thinking they are a class apart.
    Look at how BBC even goes on and on about the existence of a handshake.

    Was no BBC reporter at the press conference, why did they not ask a proper question? It has got to the point that media outlets cover media intrusion as news.

    What kind of navel gazing industry is this?
    One day you will wake up and find you are just talking to yourselves.

    Be the change you want to see, and we can see what that is.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    For God's sake. I agree with the majority of comments here - I just wish the BBC would take note.

    McNulty says this: "Capello's problem is that the private lives of some his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid."

    Utter rubbish...just because those who follow celebrities are fascinated by the private lives of footballers, nobody wants it to ruin England's chances in the World Cup, so please, media - STOP raising non-footballing issues with the national football team.

    IT ISN'T "VALID"

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    This just tells us what happened at a press conference. On the eve of England’s last game before a world cup finals against a dangerous team you’d think there would be something more interesting, analytical, relevant. They’re playing a good team, who have just won the African Cup of Nations, but didn’t qualify for the world cup! What will happen if England lose? Will Capello play his best 11? How many subs have they agreed on? So much to write about, so many questions to pose....

  • Comment number 29.

    karl (no. 20)
    what the hell are u on about? i could only understand about two lines of that!

  • Comment number 30.

    Everybody is entitled to Phil's opinion. Be that as it may it is difficult to see on which side Phil sits in this situation. On one hand he is the usual BBc journalist with a more than passing interest in the private lives of footballers, on the other hand he seems to applaud the stern way in which Fabio seeks to avoid the same.

    To say that the footballers private life should remain private is not entirely true. Since the advent of Pay TV and the popularity of the EPL the players influence goes far beyond the football field. In Africa we have the likes of Rio, Andy Cole, Shearer promoting various FA backed initiatives both football and social. So we would very much like to know just who we are dealing with. If player X is a drug adict we want to know, if player Y is an adulterer we want to know. Moreover in this age of Sports Psychology it is important to know how off-the-field activities relate/affect the on-field performance. We have just seen how Adriano and Robinho have benefitted from moving back to more familiar 'home' surroundings. Not so long ago there was an article on this very website on how the latin/south americans seem to fare better in Spain and Italy where the off-the-field activities clearly differ from those of England. By the press publishing the off-the-field activities of our stars it keeps them in check (big brother is watching) and keeps us informed. The managers should adapt to this or 'die' as did one Sven!

  • Comment number 31.

    Mr McNulty I assume you were at the press conference.
    May we know what football questions you asked Mr Capello?

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    The big problem for England is that the press is generally pathetic. This is always more apparent leading up to any big sporting event in which we are taking part, but the evidence is there not just on the sport pages. Political "reporting" is just as bad, and anything to do with crime can read and sound like a 17th century witch-hunt. Why do we keep buying the papers that give us this rubbish? I do sometimes think there is a deep, unaknowledged wish among many of the tabloid sports reporters that England fail. I wonder how many of them are in the pay of a certain Australian?

  • Comment number 34.

    I had to read the following quote twice to make any sense of it:

    "Capello's problem is that the private lives of some his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid."

    I don't think that it was in Capello's job description that he should fielding questions about the players' private lives, so how it makes the media's questions "totally valid" is beyond me. Since 1966, England has been trying to plot their way back to the summit of world football - and failed. At last, here is a coach who means business. They have a very real chance. Living in Switzerland, I get to hear the opinions of the majority of the nations in mainland Europe - Spain, France, Germany and Italy to name a few - and they are all taking England very seriously. The only ones who aren't are the tabloid press. It wouldn't surprize me if Capello starts to ban such media conferences. He is there to do a very serious job and he could definately do without the media circus. Let him do his job.

  • Comment number 35.

    Well said No. 28, it would have been realy informative to know some of the possibilities related to the game tomorrow. Could the media then have given their impressions of Fabio's intent ahead of the game. It is obviously far easier to heap false praise or scorn after the fact, depending upon the result. With the injury situation as it is, Fabio is in a world of hurt just trying to select the best players for each position, let alone sort out the different permutations which may allow them to perform to each others capabilities.

    What an utter waste of Fabio's time to put up with this drivel on the eve of such an important game. A time when he could be honing his observations and plans to prompt his somewhat makeshift team into a cohesive force.

    The English FA should employ a sociologist to conduct press conferences of this nature; they are clearly outside the realm of the team manager on such an important occasion.

    Post No. 30 makes note of a social reason for knowing something of the private lives of celebreties when they are asked to act for the benefit of some worthy cause. Now there is a reason for what in many other circumstances is simply scullerous reporting.

  • Comment number 36.

    #20 and #34 spot on. That sentence is unbelievable.

    Back to football (which is what should've been on the reporter's mind at the press conference)...Baines was awesome against Man Utd the other week. His deliveries were excellent, like Valencia, but on the left. And with the same target man. This should be a good test for England, Egypt will be out to prove they should have been at the finals. It must be a tough game for the players, you wouldn't want to go all out and get injured, but Egypt aren't going to hold back.

  • Comment number 37.

    We are constantly told that the players private lives are of "massive public interest". Really??? We are constantly fed this drivel by the media and then they blame us for it. Capello also supposedly would like to think about "only football" but again it is the media that are forcing him to talk about anything but.

    I don't really care what most football players do in their own time, in the same way as I don't care what anybody else I don't personally know does in their private life. Footballers don't sign a contract to behave like saints when they start playing probably in the same way that you didn't have to sign such a clause in yours Mr McNulty. If Mr Bridge wasn't actually with this woman when Terry did what he supposedly did what right has he got to dictate who she can and cannot see?

    Sick to the back teeth of Terry this and Bridge that. I know it's only Egypt but can't you find something a bit more football related to talk about?

  • Comment number 38.

    One problem for Capello is that quite a lot of his potential squad for the summer have just returned from weeks or months off (Walcott, Joe Cole) or will be returning between now and the end of the EPL season (Lennon, Ferdinand, just possibly A Cole). Having missed a lot of the season, they could have fresh legs but not those "match-fit" sharp reactions. And at least some of them won't be fit in time to prove themselves in the friendlies, so any decision would be a gamble.

  • Comment number 39.

    "What is clear is that Capello has made it abundantly clear that there is now no room for manouevre with England's squad. The Italian only wants to talk football with the World Cup less than 100 days away."

    Ineresting paragraph Phil, were you in a bit of a rush? "It's clear that Capello has made it clear..." followed by an incorrect spelling of the word "manoeuvre". Disappointing from the BBC sport's chief writer.

    On a side note the article lacked any real substance, merely giving us what we could already have seen on Sky.

  • Comment number 40.

    "Capello's problem is that the private lives of some his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid"
    No. This is the same mistake as is frequently made by newspaper hacks and other people who ought to know better. There is a big difference between the "public interest" in the sense of benefit and the "interest of the public" in the sense of satifying curiosity.
    Public Interest is meant to mean something that benefits the general welfare of society - the common good - through disclosure. We perceive that discosure of some information is in the public interest because it is relevant to them (i.e. their business) irrespective of the privacy rights of individuals within that society. So for instance, disclosure of the activities of, say, a politician could be seen as public interest because it allows the public to make judgements on the qualities of that individual when seeking re-election.
    The interest of the public, on the other hand, is something that entertains or interests the public in the more general sense of satisfying curiosity and does not imply something that should overrride the rights of the individual. For instance, the activities of someone in their private life that has no consequence to the general public is not a public interest issue, it is a private issue.
    In my opinion, this confusion is one of the symptoms of the general malaise in society. We justify the use of phone hacking, mobile tapping, mail sniffing and all sorts of other nefarious activities on the basis of public interest where little or no actual public interest arises from it. Generally, it is published to satify the salacious, prurient and lascivious interests of a growing number of people in this country.

  • Comment number 41.

    I agree with Phil in regards tothe questions.
    I have been to several different countries and see that every single one have their public interested in this or that kind of news: Foreign Affairs, TV Shows, Violence and Crime, etc...
    IN UK as whole, it does not matter if you concentrate on news or sport. You will always read or will at least "sneak-in" on the Celebrity Pages and Magazines. This sells and this is what the people want to read and if it is allied to their main interest (football, news, etc...) even the better.
    The media is sensitive to this since it is from there that comes their revenue so this is what covered.
    I say this because I hope that Capello does get used to it otherwise, regardless of what happen in S.Africa he will be fed up and go.
    I find it impossible for him to expect a new conferece only about football in England. I do not criticize the media and the public. I just understand them. It is life.
    What he needs to do is be prepared to answer those kind of question and also to act accordingly to his players. NOthign else he can do.
    The Terry affair was badly handled by him alone. It was an utter mistake to strip him from his captaincy but not to this [place on the squad). Either keep him as captain and adopt Ancelotti's approach, or drop him altogether.
    The media will pick up on this or that player, on this or that action but he can "help" them by taking half minded decisions.
    On a separate note, I must say that the biggest problem with England is that they are constantly overrated by their supporters and media.
    Rooney is not and will not be for a while the Best Player in the World. He cannot find a place on a Spanish Squad, let alone a Brazilian one that can afford to play matches without Ronaldinhos and Lucianos.
    Once England find their feet and approach their positino realistically, they will become much better than they are.
    They have just the right manager for this. I just hope he starts to adapt to the realities of this country and do well.

  • Comment number 42.

    Your argument - 'Capello's problem is that the private lives of some his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid.' - is circular Mr McNulty. Their personal lives are only of interest because the public have been told by the media (ad nauseam) that these events are a critical threat to England's hopes. Having successfully created this situation, the very same media goes on exploiting it using the argument that the public has a right to know. And round and round we go...

  • Comment number 43.

    England will not win the world cup because they are not good enough. Once you accept that you can just enjoy the football.There are some great players in the England squad:- Gerrard,Lampard, Owen & Rooney are world class. Spain, Brazil, Holland, Argentina, France(doh) have 7 or 8 world class players & that`s what wins overall. The England salary saga is also ridiculous. They are all multi-millionaires who are given un-merited celebrity status.Capello also earns 3 times more than any other manager. For now, the whole England setup is a shambles.The FA are a joke (eg Terry saga). Radical change is required.

  • Comment number 44.

    Phil, you wrote:
    "The private life is a big problem for some players, but also a big problem for their club and at the end for me," Capello admitted.

    And so it proved as he was asked about the morals of his squad, responding on one occasion by asking an inquisitor; "Why do you have to speak about this for so long a time? Are you interested in the game or interested in the life of the players?"

    Capello's problem is that the private lives of some his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid."

    Why have the private lives of players become of very public interest?
    It is because the media snoop, pry and interfere, doing so with the excuse of "being in the public interest"
    It is done to increase sales of their tabloid rag sheets and has nothing to do with "public interest"
    Unfortunately, a very large portion of the public (population) has been convinced by these so called newspapers that it IS in their interest.
    Titlilation is all it really is.
    I find it childish, intrusive and unhealthy.
    Children grow up in todays media shadow, and are affected by it to some little or greater degree, hence the general disrespect that some of these kids show.
    Also Phil, I lay some of the blame at your feet. Why have you felt that it is so important to report on the private lives rather than on the football. You should be showing some respect too. After all you are, as you say, BBC's CHIEF football writer. I do not see in your brief: "Gossip Columnist".

  • Comment number 45.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 46.

    I am beginning to get anoyed about Capello's attitude with regards answering press questions about attitudes and discipline of players he has picked for England. I would have thought on a salary of £5 million a year he would be far more understanding and patient with the media. He is probably struggling to understand why the English public are so interested in the private lives of our stars but as the English Manager he needs to accept this quickly.

    He would like to draw a line under the John Terry saga but due to his double standards he made the situation worse. He seems to have taken the stance that he does not agree with JT behaviour and therefor demoted him from captain. But because the team need JT as a defender he is still picked to play. Surely it should either be JT out of the squad completely or still the captain. Capello's approach is to sit on the fence.

  • Comment number 47.

    Phil, It's Arsenal's London Colney Training ground, England just rent it off them, or does it grate you too much to even say Arsenal's name?

    There is nothing new in this blog, might have been a better idea to write it tomorrow once we have something new to discuss?

    By the way, any change of mind as to whether Arsenal will win the league?

  • Comment number 48.

    I am beginning to like Capello, not that I ever disliked him, but he seems able to challenge serious utilitarian issues more than recent predecessors ever did.

    It's wonderful to think this idea might have great impact on the game, like a universal obligatory salary cap, and limit to what agents can earn regarding deals.

    It might have a wonderful impact right down to grass roots. Less psychotic sunday league dads, if they know they wont get much directly.

    Still its not going to happen alas, not yet. You'd have to first purge the FA of the rot that has set in over the past few decades.

  • Comment number 49.

    "Capello's problem is that the private lives of some of his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid."

    Wrong.

    What becomes "public interest" is more often than not, what you boys (Mr McNulty and your friends in the media) put on our plates for public consumption. You put this garbage in the newspapers, on websites, on TV and create the news. Why? - because news like everything else is a competitive business; scoops must be found, different angles and delivered in order to prosper.

    The only reason why you can claim there is public interest is because this gutter journalism has been the nations diet for so long, most people don't know of anything better.

    I have no interest in the private lives of footballers, celebrities or any other public figures. Absolutely none whatsoever.

  • Comment number 50.

    I want to say first of all that I do not sign in as "you" (33).
    I agree very much with No.40. While there are serious moral questions to be asked about the way society has been going since the 80s, it is hardly in the remit of a tabloid sports hack to investigate this. Of course this is not actually what they are doing. What they are doing, and here I must disagree with Mr. McNulty, is attenpting to appeal to the prurience of tabloid readers and the cynicism of their owners. "Public Interest" in this case is no moral justification.

  • Comment number 51.

    Totally agree with the majority of posts on here, it seems the British media are doing their best to see England fail, just so they can spend the next 4 years, running stories on their failures. The Media dictates what is public interest and we the public have to digest them whether we like it or not, as we live in a society where celebrity is everything.

    But on to football matters, I would like to see Rooney and Defoe up front tonight, they are the in form strikers and I believe they can work together to form a dangerous partnership. At left back I would play Warnock - I have rated him ever since he was a youngster at Liverpool and couldnt believe when Rafa sold him on.

    These kind of friendlies are always difficult to judge and as always we will be left with more questions than answers. I trust in this manager to pick the right squad and have a system to match the abilities. Whether that will be enough to win in South Africa, I dont know as they will need a lot of luck and the top players to be on form to stand a chance.

  • Comment number 52.

    'Capello's problem is that the private lives of some of his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid.'

    I don't agree. What is 'of' interest to the public is not necessarily what is 'in' the public interest and it is the latter validates public questioning not the former.

    For example; let's say gossip started to circulate that one of the England players was gay but that he wanted to keep it secret for his own reasons. Now I don't doubt that (being the prurient bunch we are) a great many English people would be interested in finding out who that player was. It would be 'of' interest to them - millions of them I wouldn't wonder and by your standards therefore a barrage of questions on the subject aimed at the manager would be 'validated'.

    See where you end up when you apply your standard. If you can show the subject is 'of' interest to enough people then nothing is off limits is it? Everything is up for grabs – every aspect of the players sex lives - all of which will be 'of' interest to a great many people I guarantee you and all of which could be legitimately argued were ‘in’ the public interest if they were porn stars.

    But they are not porn stars, they are footballers. And as such the only thing that can be legitimately claimed to be 'in' the public interest rather than 'of' interest to the public is how they perform on the pitch.

    I’m not unaware that I’m whistling in the wind by the way. Expecting the English media to apply my standard is of course absurd as it would require you to become proper journalists. I mean one or two of you would have had to learn how to pronounce some of the opposition players’ names to conduct a proper press conference, wouldn’t you? Much easier to just talk about sex and snigger.




  • Comment number 53.

    This is the national side, and players should conduct themselves accordingly. Money and conduct are linked, FIFA need to introduce measures to drastically cut players salaries as they are completely out of touch with reality.

    Back to football (of sorts). Re: Terry - good to see Capello putting his foot down, unlike his predecessors who let the players run riot. Pleased Gerrard is captain, Ferdinand is hopeless and let us not forget why he was banned.

    "Capello made as much very clear, so it is audition time for Emile Heskey, Peter Crouch and Carlton Cole between now and the World Cup" - oh dear. With Rooney in the 'form of his life' the team should be built around him, and that's coming from a Liverpool supporter.



  • Comment number 54.

    Valid public interest? Perhaps you didn't read the live text commentary for Man City vs Chelsea written by your colleague Caroline Cheese. Far from being public interest it sounded like the inane chatter of a gossiping schoolgirl.

    The Terry/Bridge issue was perhaps divisive to the squad, yes. As we saw on Saturday it has also divided fans. Cappello was right to assert his authority over the squad and when Wayne Bridge decided he couldn't play for England that should have been the end of it.

  • Comment number 55.

    And if anyone, including phil, is still questioning Wayne Bridge , he saw this article and hundreds like it, and the same press conferences from now until the World Cup, and knew it couldnt be allowed to go on.

    He was right, regardless of personal issues, the two in the squad was untenable because of the media, and he should be commended for bowing out, a team player prepared to sacrifice everything for the cause.

    Sadly, for a few weeks at least, the media will not let it go, but compared to the furor there would be if he was in the squad, England are getting off lightly.

  • Comment number 56.

    The more I read and hear of Fabio Capello the more I find I like the man.

    The comment in the linked report about players having a responsibility to fans and children in particular reaches at the heart of this all.

    Players accept the money, the adulation and their huge sponsorship money plus the privileged lifestyles and are treated like hollywood stars of old. They must accept that with all this comes responsibility.

    To be very honest several of them have set an example that we wouldn't want our children to follow.

  • Comment number 57.

    I'm not commenting on off-field antics because this is a sports blog on a sports website. You should learn something from that Phil.

    People calling for Capello to change his tactics just because Rooney is playing well in a different system need to think again. Capello hasn't really done very much wrong in the build up to this world cup and Rooney has hit his form SINCE last playing for England. There's absolutely no reason why Rooney won't play just as well in Capello's formation.

    Changing a style of play after a full qualifying campaign would be a stupid idea. As much time as their is between each international, the players are used to Capello's style of play now and I don't think there's much evidence to change it.

  • Comment number 58.

    Most of the comments on here are blaming the press for stirring it up and I'm betting most posters don't give two hoots about footballers private lives - I know I don't.

    It's you the media that think we want to know these things and the 'celebrity' rubbish feed on the women and idiot footballers that tell them the stuff.

    Most of us don't care!

  • Comment number 59.

    #46 - that is the most RIDICULOUS post i've ever read in my life.

    Capello is the first manager we've had in years and years that does NOT sit on the fence. He took 10 minutes to sack John Terry as captain. This was the right decision.

    Capello knows that the captaincy is different to being picked in the side. It has to show a bit more responsibility and the captain is one of the players most looked up to. That could have split the dressing room.

    The fact that this has happened in JT and WB private lives does NOT mean he shouldn't play for England. What justification is there for that!? If an actor cheats on his wife, should he not be allowed to make films any more? Should Tiger Woods not be allowed to represent USA in the Ryder cup any more?

    Some people just haven't got a clue!!!

  • Comment number 60.

    I know that the players are their own worst enemy and it sells papers etc. But if we carry on the World Cup bid will be dead in the water. As a United fan it is good news that this is derailing Chelsea's bid for the title but is bad news for us all this summer.

    We need to get behind the boys otherwise we have no chance. Simples.

  • Comment number 61.

    I dont remember Capello complaining that he was paid too much?

  • Comment number 62.

    And thsi is coming from a man who earns 6.7million after tax excluding bonuses and advertising deals.
    Give it a break.

  • Comment number 63.

    A top team who knows how to defend will drastically reduce the threat of Rooney, and then what have we got?
    Much as I would love us to win the world cup, the idea that we are among the favourites is ridiculous - just the same media bluster that comes around every tournament. A team with Heskey up front and James at the back is asking for trouble.
    And Capello's stubbornness about Owen? If he's fit he should go - compare Owen's impact on the Carling Cup final in 42 mins to Heskey's in 90 (never mind their goals this season) and tell me I'm wrong.

  • Comment number 64.

    "Comments posted to BBC blogs will be removed if they are considered likely to provoke, attack or offend others; are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, abusive or otherwise objectionable; are considered to have been posted with an intention to disrupt; contain swear words (including abbreviations or alternative spellings) or other language likely to offend."

    These are the reasons why moderators remove the posts. The reason I am posting this here is because I am at a loss to understand which one of the rules did I break?

    My comment does not contain any of

    1) racist content
    2) sexist content
    3) Homophobic content
    4) sexually explicit content
    5) swear words
    6) abusive language
    7) objectionable words
    8) acronyms, slang

    I have even taken care to call the blogger with the proper "Mr." title. So which rule did I break? Maybe it had to do something with the fact that I criticised the blogger. Is that it?

  • Comment number 65.

    Sorry Phil but I think you had the opportunity here to help move us all on from the media storm surrounding the players private lives. However instead you've done exactly the same as the tabloid journos and tried to keep it there. This is a chance for everyone to focus on the match and get behind the team, but instead you've chosed to focus your blog on the sideshow. Only half the blog has ended up being about the squad and what Capello's plans for the team are.

    Sorry but I've never wanted to go down the road of criticising you as you seem to get a bit of it on here (some unwarranted admittedly), but this time I think you really could have helped the fans and the team out. Instead it seems you've been like the journos from all the trashy red tops and tried to keep the public's eye on non-football related matters. It's time to move on and it's a shame you haven't seen that. Looking at the comments on here most other people seem to have realised it.

  • Comment number 66.

    I for one am glad that Capello has with the two forwards, as he has before with England. Your prejudice towards Liverpool's system is pretty embarrassing. England aren't Liverpool and Rooney isn't Torres. Why would Fabio want to change the attack at this late stage, particularly when its the one area that's worked so well for them, scoring a record number of goals on the way to the world cup.

  • Comment number 67.

    "Capello's problem is that the private lives of some of his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid. "

    Its the media that have the interest, not the public. The public have it forced down our throats by the media and are told to like it. All this is annoying capello who is there to talk football but the press are only there to try and sensationalise a story to sell more papers - and derail our world cup bid.

  • Comment number 68.

    Well, well. Now Mr Capello probably understands what a poisoned chalice it is to be England Manager. The honeymoon is over. The players have started shooting themselves in the metatarsals and our wonderful British media is hell bent on making it even more difficult for us to have a successful world cup. You couldn't make it up. Can we forget about who's bonking who and concentrate on the football PLEASE!!!!!

    I trust Capello, being a strong character, will nip this in the bud.

  • Comment number 69.

    And so it proved as he was asked about the morals of his squad, responding on one occasion by asking an inquisitor; "Why do you have to speak about this for so long a time? Are you interested in the game or interested in the life of the players?"

    Capello's problem is that the private lives of some of his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid.
    _________________________________________________
    Only because of our media.Because of the "celebrity" obsession that initially the red tops,and now more and more the rest of the media concentrate on,it's no wonder FC has to deal with such nonsense.It's bad enough the pressure he's under to win the WC,again because of media frenzy.We have a reasonable side,not good enough to win it because of obvious gaps,and yet you feel this is the start of the drivel FC will have to put up with.

  • Comment number 70.

    So many so quick to blame the terrible tabloids for dragging this stuff up, but how about if the players conducted themselves in the manner any decent member of society is expected to behave there would be no scandal to report. Although that would mean going out in the quater finals would finally have to be accepted as lack of ability and not blamed on petty distractions.

  • Comment number 71.

    It's a journalists job to 'find the angle' on any story, that's why the likes of the lazy gutter press pursue easy things to write about like the Terry/Bridge saga.

    McNulty has his own method however - he's just cynical about everything.

  • Comment number 72.

    Hi Phil,

    Could you please send a link to a proper football article? I would like to know the details of the match between England and Egypt. It seems as though your article has incorrectly been posted on the football website of the BBC. :)
    Thank you.

  • Comment number 73.

    So stripping the armband from John Terry did nothing to stop the questions about players’ private lives… what a surprise!

    Capello’s actions were praised at the time by people saying he was taking a ‘firm stance’ and that it would put an end to it all but it was never likely to do either. If the England manager really believed his role model for kids theory he should have dropped Terry altogether. This would have at one stroke ended all the media questions on player’s private lives and shown the rest of the squad what would and would not be tolerated by national players. Alternatively he could have focused on the football and backed Terry, separated out player’s private lives from their football and again ended the media circus. Taking away the armband but still having Terry in the squad is the worst possible thing Capello could have done!

    If England players are role models then why is Terry still in the squad? Having said that why are so many others too, Gerrard, Ashley Cole, and Ferdinand should all be dropped by that theory. Capello should concentrate on football!

    Having said that if he is focusing on football matters then I am concerned. Terry’s form is clearly not ‘good’, and surely a manager should never say never to a strategy. The best teams in the world can adapt and play different ways. Having a favoured strategy is all well and good but Arsenal are classic examples of a team that suffer because they are too one dimensional. I agree with Capello that England look a better side with Heskey up front, but worry by his insistence that will be the only way England will play.

  • Comment number 74.

    Phil why on Earth do you keep going on and on about Rooney up front with Gerrard behind him in every single blog!

    This has been tried before by more than one England manager and it has NEVER worked. Gerrard always drops too deep and then Rooney drops back just as deep because he is not getting any service from Gerrard leaving us with nobody up front and looking completely disjointed. The fact that you keep bringing this up when Gerrard is playing some of the worst football of his career just shows that you certainly don't apply the same rules since you talk about Terry not playing well (which he isn't and is overrated anyway but that's not the point).

  • Comment number 75.

    A post on footballing matters:

    England play better with Heskey in the team than they do without him - borne out by our qualifying campaign.

    If we're going to go back to a traditional 4-4-2 and try playing Owen or Defoe alongside Rooney, we may as well get McClaren back as manager - those were essentially his tactics. Capello has utilised 4-2-3-1, with Rooney playing in and around the ball-winning Heskey with Gerrard and a right winger (Walcott or Lennon) providing the extra threat that would be lacking in a more orthodox formation.

  • Comment number 76.

    'Capello's problem is that the private lives of some of his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid.'

    People on here seem to be very naive in respect to this sentence. Blaming the media is pointless - they are what they are and are not going to change any time soon. The england squad are well aware of this and need to behave accordingly.

  • Comment number 77.

    Capello is spot-on. Soccer players are paid an obscene amount of money, even more so when you consider the current financial climate the rest of us have to deal with.

    Well overdue time FIFA stepped in to regulate pay. It's all very well saying 'It compensates a shorter working life'. A normal working life is 18-65 = 47 years. Multiply that by a fairly low average of £20,000 and you get £940,000. So to compensate a soccer player for only working 10 years (ish) you pay them £94,000 a year NOT multi millions!

    BTW in case you wondered I'm guessing that's one of the reasons soccer clubs are struggling financially. It's not difficult to work out.

  • Comment number 78.

    Why am I being referred to as "You"?

  • Comment number 79.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 80.

    Capello's problem is that the private lives of some of his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid.
    --------------------------------------------------
    Couldn't really disagree more.

    Ashley Cole separating from his wife has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with football. It is a personal matter and Capello should just bluntly and impolitely refuse to answer any questions about it since it is none of his or the media's business. Also the Terry incident has been dealt with, Terry has been stripped of the captaincy and Bridge has, thankfully, ended his international career. What is there to talk about in these matters? How can they be more relevant than football?

    Something being of 'public interest' doesn't mean Capello has to talk stop talking about football for it.

    Capello should start 'doing a Sir Alex' and banning certain so-called newspapers from his press conferences. I really do not understand how The FA can keep entertaining the likes of NOTW after they disgracefully undermined the national team with their fake sheikh and are doing their best to ensure England fail again. Capello is known as a strict disciplinarian isn't he, so why can't he be strict when dealing with the press? Announce at the start of the press conference that he will not answer any questions about the personal lives of his players and he will only talk about football. If that's too much to take for journalists then Capello could just abandon the whole press conference for all I care.

    Can't think of anything more hypocritical than the tabloid press questioning other people's morals.

  • Comment number 81.

    I think that Mr C should ban press conferences from now on - if the media are going to resort to these kinds of tactics and try (as usual) to blow our chances out of the water then they sould not be given the time of day.

    I don't know about anyone else here, but as an England fan I have only ever cared what happens during the match. The manager and team should be judged by their performance on the field and nothing else matters.

    Perhaps if the press stopped banging on about the player's private lives/wives/girlfriends then these things will cease being an issue.

    This was a terrible blog Phil - concentrate on the football please.

  • Comment number 82.

    'And so it went on as Capello played out a verbal "catenaccio"'
    jesus, McNulty, the dumbing down continues, I await the pizza and mafia jokes next

    I notice you never use the word 'we' in your blogs, McNulty - as in, "WE, the press have done enough damage and should now leave the matter to rest" or "it looks like WE are putting a lot more pressure on the England squad that they need, so I am never going to mention the matter again". You never question the role of the media in this - after all this is an issue only because you made it so, if it stayed out of the public eye Bridge may still be playing for England now.

    At the end of the day, you are part of the media circus, McNulty, and if England gets eliminated because Ashley Cole's replacement cannot stop an attacking player from scoring, it will be partly you fault. Yes, YOU, Philip McNulty.

  • Comment number 83.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 84.

    So Phil do you think there is any chance that you might take a lead from what is clear on this blog. The majority of football fans don't want to know about the private life of footballers, they want trophies, analysis, goals, theories about the game, and PLAYER profiles, not a sociological discourse in the morals of the centre back.
    I am of the opinion these highly paid professionals owe nobody anything. The play to win and they are paid for it. If you want Moral leaders look to your church, if you want honest people look to yourselves, but don't look to the media for football analysis.

  • Comment number 85.

    I agree with Capello and it is refreshing hear this from a senior man involved in the game.

    The problem is that there is a vicious circle that can spiral out of control. Football is massively supported and therefore generates huge amounts of money. Players become superstars and are paid ridiculous wages. The interest in players off the pitch is enhanced by their money and profile (the blond and the Bentley) which means that any minor indiscretion is blown out of proportion by the media. Added to that players become rich and famous very quickly and therefore lack experience dealing with the trappings of wealth and fame.

    However a player who gets paid huge amounts of money does so because of the interest in football and cannot expect to have the cash and then be left alone - one does not come without the other. Therefore there is a requirement to "behave" or face the consequences.

    It is not an argument to say that people in all walks of life slip up - get divorced, get into trouble with the law etc. With the money comes the responsibility as without the public and media interest there is no big wage packet and players need to remember that.

  • Comment number 86.

    70. At 09:46am on 03 Mar 2010, the_chief15 wrote:
    So many so quick to blame the terrible tabloids for dragging this stuff up, but how about if the players conducted themselves in the manner any decent member of society is expected to behave there would be no scandal to report. Although that would mean going out in the quater finals would finally have to be accepted as lack of ability and not blamed on petty distractions.

    Complain about this comment

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    You're right the players should behave better, but how long are we going to go on about the Terry/Bridge affair and what Cole's been up to? Is this the BBC sport website or the Marie-Clare website? I don't think anyone's saying these stories shouldn't be reported but what happened to today's headlines being yesterday's chip wrappings? Are these stories going to be discussed every day from now until the world cup starts? Surely a line has to be drawn somewhere and we say time to move on.

  • Comment number 87.

    Perhaps with all the cutbacks at the BBC announced yesterday and the fact the will strive for top quality journalism this type of blog will be a thing of the past, and start focusing on a Vickery type analysis of the game known as football.

  • Comment number 88.

    "I can choose one big forward, one small forward. Anything else? Never. My style is always two forwards, with the other one very close."


    This is the most dissapointing quote from the whole press conference for me.
    Its not about Capellos style its about Englands style. This could be Capellos biggest mistake as england manager. rooney now plays better as a lone striker. He likes the space and he sees the game better from that position. The formation capello prefers relies heavily on both fullbacks being able to bomb forward and provide quality crosses for the 'big guy up top' With doubts over Johnson and A Coles fitness why not try something different against Egypt when their first choice full backs are not available? Play two wingers with Gerrard in behind Rooney. Now is the time to try this but I fear Capello will plod on with his same formation.

  • Comment number 89.

    My comments posted at #22 were taken off because it was deemed to have broken "House Rules." I find this unfair, because my comments were on topic, did not malign anyone, use swear words, or violate any other rule.

    The only reason I can think of is that my comments did not blame the media or Wayne Bridge for the current scandal surrounding the England squad. And oh yes, I did not praise John Terry for his off the field antics.

  • Comment number 90.

    To many...I am more than comfortable passionately defending the position of the media, in all its forms, for questioning Fabio Capello on John Terry and the behaviour of his squad.

    We have had an England captain relieved of his duties just months before a World Cup amid allegations that he had a relationship with the ex-girlfriend of a former team-mate. We then have this former team-mate, Wayne Bridge, effectively ending his England career as a direct result.

    The media have every right to ask Capello about this because it is a serious issue affecting the England team and also how the coach deals with key members of his squad.

    The story may now move on, but a lot of this depends on how John Terry is treated by the England fans tonight.

    On the playing front, I was very surprised to hear Fabio Capello say he would not play Rooney on his own up front under pretty much any circumstances. I do not see how it is wise to completely rule out this option, given his form in that role for Manchester United.

    It would give England a chance to put Steven Gerrard just a little deeper than Rooney and get James Milner in the team, where he deserves to be on current form, on the left.

    On the defensive aspect of the squad, expect Capello to keep a very close eye on Phil Jagielka's return to fitness at Everton. He is a big admirer and could yet make a late push for a place in the squad.

    Other big questions we may go some way towards seeing answered tonight are in goal, at left-back, on the right flank and who plays alongside Rooney. My money would still be on Emile Heskey, although I have to confess I am one of the non-believers in this instance.

  • Comment number 91.

    "Capello's problem is that the private lives of some of his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid."

    No, they weren't. The private lives of sportsmen should be entirely seperate until they start having an impact on their on-field performance, just like with any other profession. Example: I could understand it being my boss's concern if I couldn't do my job properly due to personal concerns. But as long as I keep doing my job well, it is no business of his. Similarly, these questions would only be justified if these private issues kept them from doing their job on the field properly, and so far there have been no signs that this is the case.

    The same applies to the Terry/Bridge saga- Bridge felt he couldn't play with Terry and ruled himself out of the England squad. Fine. That's his choice and he can do it for whatever reasons he likes. But Capello stripping Terry of the captaincy for purely off-field matters was the wrong move, in my opinion. Being captain of your country does not impart any special moral burden on you- and nor should it.

    A second example- let's say Capello had left Terry with the captaincy, and Bridge resigns his place. Terry's ability as captain does not noticably decrease. What's the problem here, exactly? I don't see one, because I want the best man possible to captain my country, and everything else is irrelevent. Surely the media should want the same?

  • Comment number 92.

    From all the comments listed here, its clear that the media circus that so many posters complain about has done its job and distracted the lot of you away from footballing issues.

    I was expecting to see a lot of posts expressing concern about England defensive crisis, because thats what it is. Ferdinand is past it on a fitness level, his body can't keep up. Yet when he gets rushed into the team for the first game short of match practice and proceeds to get injured everyone is going to act surprised.

    Terry's form is atrocious and i personally think he's not a great player anyway, he's not zero pace or technique and is frequently exposed on the ground by quick footed strikers.

    Glen Johnson has been injury prone all season, and Cashley Cole will have no match fitness to speak of either. Couple that with the goal keeping situation and the defence is starting to look very suspect.

    Any thoughts, England fans??

  • Comment number 93.

    I have to agree with most of the posts on here. The following quote from Phils blog angers me as it has many others:

    "Capello's problem is that the private lives of some of his players have become of very public interest, so the questions were totally valid."

    The BBC should set an example. Surely everybody realises that we actually don't need to know about players private lives. The whole media keeps shelling out utter garbage which is of no benefit to society. Do they have no problem with exposing our children to this nonsense day after day? How can they write stories about John terry and Katie Price when society needs and requires a better understanding of the much more important political and social issues that damage society. It's so obviously wrong that it kills me inside knowing that selling papers is more important to them than anybody's well being.

    I don't wish to pay the BBC to keep hyping up such nonsense.

    All everyone reading this blog wants you to talk about football, so please, please listen Phil and stop adding to Englands downfall.

    Finally, it's great to see such wide criticism of the media, hopefully one day a difference can be made to the way they go about their business

  • Comment number 94.

    " The media have every right to ask Capello about this because it is a serious issue affecting the England team and also how the coach deals with key members of his squad."
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    1. A serious issue in football is a broken leg, a serious issue in life is cancer or aids.
    2. Actually it's not affecting the team if there isn't a media scandal. I am certain 100% no scandal Bridge would be playing tonight.
    3. It has zero to do with Capello.
    4. There are nearly a hundred comments on here telling you differently to your opinion, are you still adamant your approach is correct?

    As for playing Rooney up front. England had there most succesful qualifying campaign ever by not playing him up front and you are surprised it's ruled out?
    I am going to find a brick wall and bang my head against it mate.

  • Comment number 95.

    As far as I can see we haven't a cat in hells chance of winning the world cup so all this hot air is pointless. It's the same every 4 years, built up, knocked down then knocked out. It's like groundhog day.

  • Comment number 96.

    we have had an England captain relieved of his duties just months before a World Cup amid allegations that he had a relationship with the ex-girlfriend of a former team-mate. We then have this former team-mate, Wayne Bridge, effectively ending his England career as a direct result.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------
    you are still in denial, McNulty - this should read something along the lines of "we have had an England captain relieved of his duties just months before a World Cup BECAUSE OF GOSSIP-RELATED MEDIA HYSTERIA etc etc"

    The captain being relieved of his duty was an EFFECT of your (the media's) work, but you just refuse to confront that.

  • Comment number 97.

    Is this all charade surrounding top english futy becoming some kind of
    new pure religious order with great Master Capello acting as high
    preacher of positive ethic.

  • Comment number 98.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    baines is nothing compared to bale. that was obvious on sunday.
    gareth bale is full of invention, creativity, vision and pace.
    he is strong, young and can pass long and short. super engine.
    how england could do with a player like that.

 

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