Capello feels heat as Wales await
Fabio Capello swept into a Cardiff hotel just as the wedding party was making its way out - but there is still no sign of the England coach and deposed captain Rio Ferdinand making a happy couple.
Capello was always struggling to push England's crucial Euro 2012 meeting with Wales in the Millennium Stadium to the front of the agenda as the fall-out from his decision to reinstate John Terry continues to be scattered around his preparations.
And so it proved as Capello, with at times barely disguised irritation in a media briefing that occasionally carried a chaotic air, admitted he regretted some aspects of the manner in which Terry was reappointed and Ferdinand discovered he had lost his job.
Capello was at bay as he came under inquisition about his failure to inform Ferdinand personally that he had been stripped of the honour. So if Friday afternoon was a time for regrets from the Italian, it is clear he cannot afford any more when England leave Cardiff on Saturday night. This is a game he must not lose.
At least this was presumably the final chapter, for now at least, in a saga that shed an unflattering light on Capello's lines of communication.
The remorse, however, did not stop Capello pointing a finger of blame firmly in Ferdinand's direction for the pair's failure to meet at Manchester United's Champions League game against Marseille at Old Trafford to discuss the England coach's decision.
Capello's claim that he was in the directors' box but Ferdinand did not come to meet him is surely not how a move of such significance should be communicated to the losing party.
It is perhaps understandable that Ferdinand did not wish to conduct business in this public arena, but Capello's shrug and gritted teeth smile suggested he could live with the criticism that came his way in Cardiff.
"It is a question for him not me. I was in the directors' box but it didn't happen. He didn't come," said Capello before moving on to his next media grilling.
Sadly, the Ferdinand affair has overshadowed the build-up to what is emerging as a huge game for England in a Principality already fizzing at the possibility of unseating their old rivals in what Capello admitted was "a derby - and these are games in which the best team does not always win."
Lose and there is no doubt Capello's management in the build-up will be revisited, although no-one could convincingly argue against Terry as captain here with Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard ruled out through injury.
Victory will give Capello a cushion against any further siege and might even lead to a kiss-and-make-up with Ferdinand, albeit in a less public place than in front of 75,000 people at Old Trafford.
If Ferdinand's captaincy - or lack of it - was discussed as part of England's past, the circumstances surrounding it clouded confirmation that Jack Wilshere is now an integral part of the future.
Capello confirmed Wilshere's place in the starting line-up with words of praise and confidence that hinted it was a case of the Arsenal youngster and one other in the centre of midfield, an impressive indicator of his development.
And even though Capello announced "this will not be my problem", the Italian was only too happy to tout the 19-year-old Wilshere as another England captain of the future.
"He is a young player who has improved a lot in a short time," said Capello. "He was an interesting player. When he played his first game with us he was good, but young.
"Now he is playing like a player who has played a lot of games, like a 28 or 29-year-old. He plays the game fantastically with personality and without fear. He played two fantastic games for Arsenal against Barcelona.
"It's not easy to find players like him who play without fear in places like the Nou Camp. I spoke with Arsene Wenger and he told me he was also surprised by how he had improved so much in so short a time."
Capello added: "I think he is a really good player, to be a captain you need to be a leader and I think Wilshere will be captain in a really short time."
Wilshere has the chance in Cardiff to turn the heat up a notch on the old order of Frank Lampard, Gerrard and Gareth Barry for the central midfield places. Capello's praise suggests Wilshere has the tools at his disposal to not just deal with the hothouse inside a sell-out Millennium Stadium, but thrive on it.
Who partners Wilshere is another matter, with Lampard fearful for his place under challenge from Scott Parker, a tension that might have explained one or two pieces of uncharacteristically uncertain control from Chelsea's veteran when Capello fixed his icy gaze on him during training at the Millennium Stadium on Friday afternoon.
Andy Carroll's shortage of match action at Liverpool rules him out of the equation, leaving Darren Bent to hope he gets the nod over Peter Crouch and continue his good work in the friendly win over Denmark.
Capello's England need to reset the compass as they head towards Euro 2012 after a turbulent spell that has had doubts cast upon the Italian's judgement.
If he wanted a scrap to demonstrate he still has the stomach for a fight as England manager, it arrived throughout his pre-match media briefing.
And the atmosphere in and around Cardiff on Friday suggested Wales, and the Welsh support, are in the mood to make it uncomfortable for him again on Saturday. Capello knows he cannot have any more mistakes or regrets at the end of 90 minutes that are being awaited with real relish here.