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Capello feels heat as Wales await

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Phil McNulty | 17:37 UK time, Friday, 25 March 2011

Cardiff

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.

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Fabio Capello news conference in full

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."

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Speed positive ahead of England game

England will hope Wilshere's bold confidence and technical ability can set the platform for domination against his Arsenal team-mate and new Wales captain Aaron Ramsey.

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.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Phil McNulty sees England captaincy saga again overshadow Cardiff build-up
    ---------------
    This is more because of the media than Capello. Not that he's handled the situation in a perfect manner but the fuss over such a trivial matter is pretty disproportionate. Rio can't be captain because he's never fit to play, he shouldn't need some fancy meet-and-greet ceremony to understand that.

    As for the game, I predict England will win comfortably. That's not because they're any good but because Wales are just poor, especially without Bale.

  • Comment number 2.

    He has a lot to do, he has not been what i thought he would be. A respected leader:

    http://www.suite101.com/content/wales-v-england-preview-a361799

  • Comment number 3.

    I have always failed to understand what the British media's hulabaloo over who wears a strip of cloth on the arm is all about. It is not like it endows anyone with superhuman powers ... or that he is bestowed with a supernatural halo when he plays.

    Kick the bloody ball about on the pitch and get the bloody ball in the verdammte net.

  • Comment number 4.

    What about Frank Lampard? He's fit as far as I know, and he'd probably have been the person I'd have chosen over Ferdinand to begin with.

  • Comment number 5.

    i thought blogs were supposed to give opinion, not just summarise, and blandly at that, the events of last week....

  • Comment number 6.

    Agree that Ferdinand can't have too many complaints, unfortunately for him, although I think there's an etiquette and courteousy that he should have been informed in a better fashion.

    Still don't think Terry should have been reinstated, if not for his 'role-modelship' off the field, then at least for the sake of the manager asserting some authority of clarity and direction, as well as respect (if I'm being clear there) - this to-ing and fro-ing is wearisome to say the least.

    That said, I can't say I see a viable replacement. I guess it's worth thinking about why this is, and I would put the blame on Capello. The team don't play good football, the tactics are questionable, and they don't beat the teams that they'll inevitably face in the upper-stages of competitions, despite having a selection of talented (word used loosely) players. Clearly he hasn't got the confidence of the squad, the wherewithal to manage, and ingenuity to conjure up new tactics. It's for these reasons why I feel there is no obvious captain, insofar as the England squad doesn't and will not succeed under him, and he doesn't manage the squad to the talents.

    Before the World Cup, I didn't believe that England would get past the first stage after the group stages, and definitely didn't count them in as one of the favourites. Under Capello's stewardship they've only won against poor sides, not to mention since. Moreover, from my understanding, he's not been a particularly prolific manager in terms of bringing a team on the cusp of doing something into a potentially winning team. Keep with Capello, and England will struggle in the next competition.

  • Comment number 7.

    In addition, for the spectacle of the event of wales vrs england, I feel it is a great shame that Wales has several injuries, especially Bale. Would be great to see a fully fit Welsh squad as I feel, being that they're a youthful squad (England should look at that!), that in the future they'll make big improvements - hopefully.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm not english, but how is capello is still in the job? he's changed nothing except bringing a few young players in, plays an archaic 442, has all the time in the world to learn a language yet doesn't seem to have learned hardly anything and makes a shambles of the captaincy by allowing it to get out of hand. What do people expect to happen at the next major finals if hes changed nothing? People seem to be ignorant of the reality that once they come against a decent team they will lose - just look at the france game recently.

  • Comment number 9.

    @ 3
    I think the 'hulabaloo' is the fact the likes of Bobby Moore, Bryan Robson, Tony Adams, David Beckham etc have previously worn the 'piece of cloth'

  • Comment number 10.

    @8. At 22:57pm on 25th Mar 2011, messien wrote:
    I'm not english, but how is capello is still in the job?

    Urm, hello.?.?. one word! COMPENSATION..

    We stupidly removed all his contract clauses before the world cup. Fools had it coming to them.

  • Comment number 11.

    Not Capello, nor any other manager will be able to unify England and bring glory to its national side. There are powerful forces that want to prevent the English to be proud and to be united.

    With national pride - not the bigot one - but a self-confident and self-sufficient English people a One World Government will never stand a chance. Before every 'important' tournament - a mere distraction for the masses of course - cue the media digging up a sleeze scandal about someone prominent in the side.

    You, as a a nation, will never be allowed to succeed.

    And no, I'm not English myself, not a huge fan for that matter. But I have to give credit to the spirit that still resides as an intrinsic force within England's nation. A force that stands in the way of Global Governance, or a New World Order as several of your elected muppets have expressed it.

    Go on. Have it...

  • Comment number 12.

    Wales is a country, not a principality. I'm not Welsh, but the buildup to this game has been horribly skewed towards England. I'm not expecting equality - hey, England are the better, bigger team - but a bit more than a few paragraphs on Bale's injury/ Ramsey's captaincy (and that only in relation to Jack Wilshere) is shoddy.

  • Comment number 13.

    Apologies, just noticed the new Ramsey article. Whoops. Still: country, not principality.

  • Comment number 14.

    looking objectively at the English team, here's what you have (on paper)

    Hart - the outstanding young keeper of last season

    Johnson - reportedly wanted by the Special One at Madrid
    Terry - Statistically a very consistent performer, good leader
    Jagielka / Dawson - Inexperienced in Internationals but the best available
    Cole - best left back in the world.

    Wilshere - fantastic technical skills and work rate. A future star. even Pep knows this.
    Parker - best midfielder in the PL this season probably
    Barry- bags of experience at the top of the game
    Lampard- ditto but can also win you a game
    Young- Scores goals and makes them
    Milner- Beating off some stiff competition at City

    Rooney- When he's good he's unplayable

    Capello's job could be done by literally almost anyone. If that isn't good enough to beat the Welsh then he has to go. In disgrace.

  • Comment number 15.

    poor old fabio everyone on his back
    what can he do? he has a fa that are useless, a captain who is not very popular a group of players who struggle to adapt to international football. oh yes and a support that have little faith in any of these.

    fabio is not the problem

  • Comment number 16.

    Frankly, I couldn't care less. The England captancy saga is a meaningless sideshow to a second rate competition, lead by a "lame duck", soon to depart, England manager and desperately fuelled by the media's need to make something significant out of footballer's supersized egos.

  • Comment number 17.

    Surely the captaincy should be a non-issue?
    What role does a captain have nowadays that no other player can do?
    A true leader will lead a team with or without a scrap of cloth.
    Greatness waits for no man, and no man should wait to be told he is great.

  • Comment number 18.

    @ #15: Capello isn't the whole problem, but he is a large part of it. As has been noted, he employs inflexible outmoded tactics and his man-management skills seem to be next to nonexistent. However, you're right insofar as the FA are also a solid chunk of the cause of the blight on English football.

    Mr McNulty: "no-one could convincingly argue against Terry as captain here with Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard ruled out through injury."

    I disagree wholeheartedly. John Terry should never have been reinstated as captain. In football the role of captain is only marginally important, at least from an administrative perspective, but it matters to the players and all manner of tiny things can affect the outcome of a match. But reinstating someone after previously stripping them of rank in disgrace speaks volumes about the indecisiveness and weak character of the manager, especially when there are in fact several other qualified candidates in the mix. Scott Parker, for example, has been in the best form of his life and has been noted as an outstanding captain for West Ham, inspiring them with dressing room speeches and leading by example at all times. Frank Lampard, while not experienced as a captain, would doubtless do a fine job. Wayne Rooney too would be a better choice; it was plain to see how becoming captain of Manchester City incited Carlos Tevez to raise his game, so perhaps the armband could do the same for Rooney and get him back to his match-winning best.

    But of course, none of that is possible with a manager like Capello. If England are to have any hope of success, I desperately hope Harry Redknapp ends up in charge sooner rather than later.

  • Comment number 19.

    Capello has lost his magic and is making errors left right and centre. First the Capello Index and now the captaincy. He needs to get a grip.

    Motihur Rahman

  • Comment number 20.

    Lets hope Terry does the biz against wales

    Motihur Rahman

  • Comment number 21.

    The captain issue masks over the real problems.

    The England squad looks as weak as I've saw an England squad for years. Obv still a few quality players- A.Cole, Lampard, Rooney and even Terry plus Hart and Wiltshire look good prospects but the rest of the squad is packed with players who are just not international class and are way below the level of player needed to win major tournaments.

  • Comment number 22.

    Capello got it wrong from the start as no matter what JT's problems were off the pitch, they were not and never have been a problem on the pitch and he is the only sensible choice as captain and this is from a Spurs supporter, I have no idea why Capello stripped the captaincy away from him apart from bowing to media pressure and who cares about the media, they certainly don't speak for the majority of fans.

    RF might be Man Utd's captain, but he is not in the same league as JT, both Capello and England need him as the captain, so maybe capello has rectified his mistake and the team can now get back to playing good football

  • Comment number 23.

    Yes, let's worry about the Wales game.
    But remember your priorities when it all goes pear shaped in 2012, when they home in on the UK and flick the switch.

    It's like the music lady says 'Let England shake'

  • Comment number 24.

    Wholly agree with No.5 for one, although having read a few of these blogs I get the impression the idea is to generate responses above anything else.

    Anyway, with the full knowledge I'm contributing an opinion that nobody asked for and will be forgotten in 15 minutes (myself included) ... is the captaincy really the issue? I'd argue that the most senior players are the ones that have failed repeatedly on the international stage, so why are they passing the armband around between themselves? It's been nice to see a few younger players get some experience, but would it not be better to see them develop alongside each other? This comment could get me modded, but bearing in mind some of these senior player's off field behaviour, what are these young players really learning from this succession of captains?

    For all I'm concerned they can play the under-21s for the next 8 years, and I'm willing to take a few missed competitions, early knock outs and the rest - it's not a big difference from what I've experienced my whole life (the first international competition I can remember was Italia 90). At least by the time they've matured a bit they might actually impress me with a decent performance. And for anyone 'expecting' a win for England, I'll use one word: Algeria.

  • Comment number 25.

    I'm tired of all this Capello bashing and feel incredibly sorry for whoever takes the job next (probably Redknapp although I really hope he avoids this poison chalice). Quite simply the players are not good enough and no manager can turn this team into world-beaters. The only player who could even have a chance of getting into the Spain team is Ashley Cole and the supporters were booing him this time last year.

    Capello is/was one of the greatest club managers of all time, winning the league at every club he's been at. And now we get ignorant fans and journalists saying he doesn't know how to be a manager. How about we try slandering the players or the FA for once as we've had 3 managers now who have all failed to win anything and the only constant in all this has been the players.

    I'm not saying Capello isn't at fault for anything (Heskey) but everytime England does poorly the manager is cut but the result is always the same. The FA and Premier league clubs need to adopt a Spanish or Dutch style youth system as there are no players coming through that could improve on the so-called 'Golden age' of talent we had. Only Wilshere comes close at all but he would more than struggle to get into that Spanish team. The biggest problem is the players as it always has been.

  • Comment number 26.

    This game may be perceived as some sort of derby but, in truth, it is an easy game for England. I really don't have a clue why the media are attempting to turn it into a derby between media and Capelo on the issue of the England captaincy.

    The England captaincy is given by the England manager to an England player. No matter whether others like it or not, it is an internal process within the team. On such issues, the media should shut up and do their job really, which is bringing news and not creating issues that comlicate matters.

    For as long as I remember following football in this country, the way sports journalists and editors behave has made them laughing stock. Having "the power" to write silly things for whoever wants to read them doesn't mean they are acceptable by the public. When will these people start acting like grown men?

  • Comment number 27.

    Only read to comment 3, and along with #1, it was there in a nutshell. The captaincy issue is only overshadowing the game because you and your fellow journalists need to write something Phil, have decided this story has some mileage, and have therefore decided to try and make it overshadow the game. Like a_proud_devil, I think this matter of life and death importance the English press attach to the captaincy is a nonsense. Isn't it time to move on from tacit parallels with Winston Churchill's victorious wartime leadership? Yes, grit and spirit are important, but we really need emphasis on technique, skill and guile if we are to make a mark on the world stage in this day and age. Players should know what to do and be giving their all, regardless of who the captain is. 11 Captains on the pitch, and all that. Contrary to what you believe, I'm more interested in the game and worried how we will play than who the nominal captain is, and if we don't play well, I don't think it will have much to do with who was given the honour. Just like the other 10, how he plays is more important, and I wouldn't expect that to be any different to if he weren't captain.

  • Comment number 28.

    "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.

    That statement says it all ... Capello's communication and hence respect for his players is appalling ... You mean that he expects his captain to come to the public director's box to be told face to face that he has lost the captaincy after finding out through the media !! It is Capello's job to handle these things with respect to all behind closed doors .. and personally contact them BEFORE the media scrum convenes ... The next thing we know is that players will have to pop round to his house to find out first if they are playing !! ,,, after the press has already told them of course !
    The man is now living in cloud cuckoo land from his players ... if he had dealt with things personally we would have had Scholesey playing in the world cup .. but he could not even contact him personally to ask that .. !!

  • Comment number 29.

    The hulabaloo of the captaincy issue is purely the media driving the bus. The media do it all that time - make a story where there is not one, and make a big story out of something deserving no more tha a paragraph.

    Capello has shown himself to be a poor man manager, and that is not likely to change. Nor is the fact that his approach and tactics are both predictible and one dimensional. We all know that if it does not work, for any reason, he is at a total loss of how to switch things around and come up with a "Plan B".

  • Comment number 30.

    I think a better question than should John Terry be captain is whether John Terry should even be in the side.

    His lack of pace has repeatedly been exposed playing the 442 system Capello prefers, especially when Ashley Cole has gone forward.

    He's a good player when he's got a couple of defensive midfielders in front of him in a 433 because he does read the game fairly well.

    So why have a captain who's certain to start play a system which clearly doesn't suit him?

  • Comment number 31.

    @ #14
    You've got 12 players on the pitch there.

  • Comment number 32.

    Before the world cup he was the greatest, today a villan?

    Funny thing the media?

  • Comment number 33.

    31. At 07:51am on 26th Mar 2011, Rob918 wrote:

    @ #14
    You've got 12 players on the pitch there.


    -----------


    Means the team should win then :D

  • Comment number 34.

    The absence of Gareth Bale has obviously loaded the dice in England's favour.

    But still there's a feeling of uncertainty hanging in the air, and I don't think anybody is convinced that Capello is really 100% fighting for the England team, or really thinks England can do well in Euro 2012.

    My personal guess is that England will win today, which will be enough to keep him his job.

    But by the time the remaining games come, especially Montenegro away, it would be too late to replace him anyway if it isn't done now, supposing England failed to qualify.

    I've also got a certain amount of sympathy with "Emperor's New Clothes", comment 11.

    It sounds like conspiracy theory, but the undeniable part is that our Premier League is full of foreign players, and that surely must mean a lot of British or English players are not coming through any more.

    Let's take last weekend's Premier League starting lineups and count the number of English players that started:

    Man City 4 out of 11
    Chelsea 3 out of 11
    Liverpool 4 out of 11 (but 1, Carragher, retired from international football)
    Man Utd 3 out of 11
    Tottenham 3 out of 11
    and astoundingly
    Arsenal a mere 1 out of 11! (Wilshere).

    Whereas let's take a look at a few top European clubs from their last CL game:

    Barcelona 6 out of 11 Spanish
    Bayern 5 out of 11 German
    Marseille 5 out of 11 French

    There are admittedly other top European clubs who have less of their own nationals than those 3, but there's no question we are more swamped with foreign nationals than any other football nation, so that means there are just far less native English players in our top league to choose from, and I think we'd be hard pressed to find only 1 native player in a top team in mainland Europe like happened with Arsenal last week!

    And if we look at the squads, take Man City, with only 12 out of the squad of 30 first team players English.

    Compare that to 15 out of 31 Italian natives in the squad for AC Milan, 12 out of 21 German natives for Bayern and 12 out of 21 Spanish natives for Barcelona.

    And then compare those figures to Arsenal - only 3 out of 21 players English, for this proud English London club!

    But that's not the only statistic that counts.

    While there's lots of Spanish, French, Germans, Italians, Dutch, East Europeans, Africans and Latin Americans in our Premier League, just how many English players are there is their leagues?

    Barcelona FC (Spain) - 0 out of 22 English players.
    Bayern Munich (Germany) - 0 out of 22 English players.
    AC Milan (Italy) - 0 out of 31 English players
    Real Madrid (Spain) - 0 out of 24 English players
    Ajax Amsterdam (Holland) - 0 out of 29 English players.
    Marseille (France) - 0 out of 28 English players.
    Shaktar Donetsk (Eastern Europe/Ukraine) - 0 out of 29 English players.
    Benfica (Portugal) - 0 out of 27 English players.

    So the fact that other top European teams have a lot of non-nationals in them also is no kind of equality or parity, because they have lots of their players in our top leagues, but we have none or virtually none of our players in their leagues in Spain, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Eastern Europe, or South America, you name it.

    Just like in business in general nowadays, we are importing lots of foreign "goods"/players, but we are exporting practically nothing and nobody either as footballers - we are the mugs of Europe and my guess is that behind the mostly impenetrable language barrier, the rest of Europe and most of the rest of the football world is laughing at us.

    It's no wonder also therefore they "laughed at" our World Cup bid despite sending 3 of our very biggest international names - Prince William, David Cameron and David Beckham, all of whom in my view got thoroughly humiliated (though were probably stupid to put their reputations on the line to begin with).

    So though no doubt most people would take EmperorsNewClothes' comment with a pinch of salt, if there were some kind of conspiracy plan to undermine British/English football, you'd have to say it was going pretty well.

    What's obvious to everyone surely, is that we're failing to develop English and British born talent, and not only are England suffering for that, but all our other international sides including the 2 Irelands, who are all consistently failing to qualify for the big international tournaments, whereas in the past Scotland did so regularly - qualified 5 times in succession for the World Cup 1974-1990 and again in 1998 the last time - and Rep of Ireland qualified 3 times for the world cup (1990, 1994 and 2002) and 2 times out of 5 in the European nations cup, the last being 1988, and did not qualify again since.

    So really, whoever the manager is, I think you can make a pretty good case for why our national teams including England are not quite as good as they ought to be, just on purely statistical grounds, because we aren't developing enough of our own British born talent.

    But to top it all, our "patriotic" FA goes and appoints an Italian who at the time of his appointment couldn't speak a word of English, was unfamiliar with our club teams and their players, and doesn't speak exactly fluently now, so it's hardly surprising he doesn't really communicate with the media and his players particularly well.

  • Comment number 35.

    You've got to love the English media. Firstly, They break the news that JT has had an affair with Wayne Bridges (ex) girlfriend. Then they blow the forthcoming clash between the pair way out of proportion and ,basicly, hound Capello into stripping Terry of the England captainancy because of whats gone on in his private life!

    Now, we have major uproar because Terry (who i think is a pretty good captain and leader) is given it back because Rio (who has been no angel in the past, lets not forget) is forever injured and not available to lead the team on a regular basis.

    I don't see what the big deal is to be honest...

  • Comment number 36.

    @34, that was better than the blog!

  • Comment number 37.

    Yet another poor McNulty blog - is this really what we pay a licence fee for? I've read a lot of lazy journalism regarding the England team over the last few days, but this could be the pinnacle.

    Phil, you seem to have a deeply-bedded mistrust of Capello, and a serious personal issue with John Terry being reinstated as England captain. I'm marvelling at some of your insight:

    "Capello was at bay as he came under inquisition about his failure to inform Ferdinand personally that he had been stripped of the honour"

    Capello has already said that he wanted to meet Ferdinand in Manchester. In his words, "Sorry, where is one place that you know where you can meet Rio Ferdinand?" That'll be Old Trafford on a match day then. If Ferdinand won't meet with the national team manager upon request and would rather then watch the match from Rooney's private box, then I for one have no sympathy for him. You want to play for your country? Then you meet with the national manager when he asks you. It's called respect.

    Plus, it's not like Ferdinand could have been that surprised at losing the armband - seeing as he's been fit for all of 4 of the 12 matches he should have been captaining.

    "Sadly, the Ferdinand affair has overshadowed the build-up to what is emerging as a huge game for England"

    Only because you and your red-top 'journalist' buddies are letting it. It's such a non-story, but the fact that the lower-grade British media (I'm looking at the Sun, and primarily Shaun & Neil Custis - how they ever got where they are I don't know) can use it as a stick with which to bash Capello just perpetuates the rubbish that's being written.

    By the way, as you may already know Phil, the reason the Sun got hold of this story (and seem to always have the 'inside scoop' when it comes to Ferdinand) is solely down to Shaun Custis - who also described Capello as a 'jack-ass' and all sorts of other petty things earlier this season. Oh, and coincidentally enough, the man who ghost-wrote Ferdinand's autobiography. Two agendas coming together rather nicely there....

    "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."

    You could probably argue it Phil. Oh wait, that's right - you wrote a whole blog arguing that exact point.....http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/philmcnulty/2011/03/capello_wrong_to_reinstate_ter.html

    Had you forgotten?

    I know international weeks are slow for football news, but the BBC can surely do better than this. Must try harder.

  • Comment number 38.

    This is a total media story. No one cares.

  • Comment number 39.

    I care for England,just not the national football team.
    And thats nothing to do with inviduals private lives or non football related news,just the fact that English football is in a dire mess.

  • Comment number 40.

    The only important issue about this, highly publicised in the UK but low key in footballing terms, match is that, being an England international match, it should be on terrestrial TV and it isn't. Shame.

  • Comment number 41.

    oh come off it, the captaincy again? Is there no football to write about? Is there no analysis of possible formations, players on players analysis, no predo about the score, no analysis of player positions? No just the same old rubbish about bruised egos that the English media find far more important than football.

  • Comment number 42.

    "Capello was at bay as he came under inquisition about his failure to inform Ferdinand personally that he had been stripped of the honour"

    does that actually mean something?

  • Comment number 43.

    14. At 23:37pm on 25th Mar 2011, georgito wrote:
    looking objectively at the English team, here's what you have (on paper)

    Hart - the outstanding young keeper of last season

    Johnson - reportedly wanted by the Special One at Madrid
    Terry - Statistically a very consistent performer, good leader
    Jagielka / Dawson - Inexperienced in Internationals but the best available
    Cole - best left back in the world.

    Wilshere - fantastic technical skills and work rate. A future star. even Pep knows this.
    Parker - best midfielder in the PL this season probably
    Barry- bags of experience at the top of the game
    Lampard- ditto but can also win you a game
    Young- Scores goals and makes them
    Milner- Beating off some stiff competition at City

    Rooney- When he's good he's unplayable

    Capello's job could be done by literally almost anyone. If that isn't good enough to beat the Welsh then he has to go. In disgrace.

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

    two things to say about this post

    1) none of those assessments of the players are objective

    2) this is the perfect example of the armchair cynic - "Capello's job could be done by literally almost anyone" - really, well atleast capello, for all his faults, knows how many players there are in a football team

    stick to the day job

  • Comment number 44.

    @31 - I seem to have got carried away then! in that case, for wales, drop barry. I don't see wales doing anything other than paring the bus. they might say otherwise in interviews but when they say 'we'll have a go' I assume that means leaving bellamy up top and play on the counter. but perhaps I should leave it to Il Postino Pat after all to pic the best 12..er 11

  • Comment number 45.

    @43 - so what pearls of wisdom are you offering may I ask?

    1. Do you mean 'armchair critic'?
    2. There's 11 players in a football team.
    3. Why do you post on here without anything constructive of your own to say?

    WUM sit down

  • Comment number 46.

    @ 34 World Cup Wally

    I think the reason we have no players playing for foreign football teams i not because some of our players aren't good enough, but because they have no reason to go and play abroad when they already play in one of the best leagues in the world. If you look at the three other strongest leagues in Europe - Spain, Italy and Germany, and then look at their national squads, you can see that most of their top players still play in their current leagues

    Spain - 3 of the current squad play outside Spain
    Italy - 1 of the current squad outside Italy
    Germany - 3 of the current squad outside Germany

    The reaon this is, like England players playing in the EPL is because their is less incentive to move abroad when they're playing for some of the best clubs, earning good money, achieving club success in their own nation. If you got offered two similar jobs on similar money for equally good companies, would you rather stay in the country you know or move somewhere with a completely different culture?

    We always go on in this country about not having enough English players playing in our sides, but if they were good enough they would get in. That's our problem, not that there are too many foreign players. I for one believe that the added competition and playing against and with the best stars in the game should actually make our players work harder to improve and hopefully make them better individuals. It's maybe their intrinsic desire not to work and have everything laid on a plate that's the problem with certian players not achieving success.

    I think the biggest issues we face are that some plyers are not willing to put in the extra effort to get to the highest standard, and that we ocus too much on strength and power and not enough on skill ad passing at a young age. Too many times you hear of clubs in England releasing young players becauase they're too small to compete. Imagine if Barcelona had done that with Messi or Xavi. I remember hearing of how Shaun Wright-Phillips was released by Nottingham Forest because of just that, and look at where he is now.

    This is our biggest problem. We want players who can win and be in the squad at such a young age and don't allow them the time to really develop. Most spanish reserve sides keep young players until they are 22, 23 to allow them time to fully develop, whereas we don't in England. Not until we coach more technical players, and allow them time to develop physically will we be able to get players on a par with what some of the the other nations have now.

  • Comment number 47.

    9. At 23:01pm on 25th Mar 2011, messien wrote:

    @ 3
    I think the 'hulabaloo' is the fact the likes of Bobby Moore, Bryan Robson, Tony Adams, David Beckham etc have previously worn the 'piece of cloth'
    -----------------
    You are right. They each wore the England captain's armband. My question is: and so?

    I was not around during Moore's playing days; and I was too young to watch Robson in the eighties. However, Adams and Beckham I watched - and I still say that they did not become supernatural or infallible when they wore the captain's armband.

    The reason why a team plays matches is to win them. To do so, you score more goals than the opposition, and concede fewer. Simples. It's not rocket science.

    In my professional life, I try to take pride in what I do. I think of the people who depend on me to do well so that they have food to eat and clothes to wear. That is more than enough motivation for me. I am sure you do the same. In fact, almost all jobs require you to be a 'team player', be able to work with 'minimal supervision', and capable of 'independent thought'.

    So, if people who are paid so much for kicking a ball around still require a peer (the much glorified captain) to remind them of the job at hand; and remind them to focus on the field of play, they do not deserve to be representing their countries.

    For goodness sake, it is not like they are out there trying to find a cure for HIV/AIDs.

  • Comment number 48.

    Nobody cares.

    And why does this blog simply restate events of last week, with no opinion or prediction whatsoever?

  • Comment number 49.

    Agree with posts nos. 1,3,27 & 29. It seems the media have to create an issue in the build-up to every England game, the captaincy, Beckham's 100th cap, the fake sheikh with Sven and so on. I mean if the media didn't dwell on such matters they might instead have to write about the game - you know tactics, formations, the form of the two teams and other trivialities that the media obviously think we don't need to hear about.

  • Comment number 50.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 51.

    @ 49.

    talking about tactics and formation requires knowledge.
    What media are good at is creating nonsense by bringing into life unimportant silly things, as long as no part of establishment is affected

  • Comment number 52.

    45. At 11:00am on 26th Mar 2011, georgito wrote:
    @43 - so what pearls of wisdom are you offering may I ask?

    1. Do you mean 'armchair critic'?
    2. There's 11 players in a football team.
    3. Why do you post on here without anything constructive of your own to say?

    WUM sit down

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

    I am sitting down, who uses a computer standing up??

    the only reason i chose to tackle you on your original post is that i'm tired of people pretending england is an easy job that anyone could do - it clearly isn't (as history has illustrated).

    Ur post also illustrates how unclear cut it really is. ostensibly ur team looks ok but when u consider how poorly rooney has been for england when played up front on his own you immediately begin to see the issues that surround the current squad.

    I can see some value in playing a 4-5-1 (apologies for the 12 man jibe, that was a cheap shot) but the rooney problem immediately comes to the fore. Dropping rooney in favour of carroll or bent doesn't seem sensible to me, so u can see from that one point what a difficult job managing england is at this point in time

  • Comment number 53.

    *how poorly rooney has played for england

  • Comment number 54.

    LeeTUFC 46 and A Proud Devil 47

    Well said

    Lets face it, the media as an entity on its own would be extinct, it needs oxygen to survive. International weeks produce such a lack of "news", the poor souls at the TV companies struggle to find "breaking news". Dont laugh now, hence the need to justify existence and debate things to death, things that are really are an irrelevance.

    The key news this week is the former FA chief executive telling us why he could not begin to change things, why English football is in a mess at international level and it aint because we have an Italian whose english is variable, or because we cant work out how to get a captain.

    English football is in a mess because of the stranglehold that the Premier League has over the national side.

    Of course the media basically want Capello out (how many of them wanted him out after South Africa?). he did not go so a few peoples noses were put out of joint and so when he makes a faux pas such as the captaincy, its like cannon fodder for the vultures but media, find some bottle, and start to explore and investigate the real issues surrounding our game.No, its much easier to wait for a banana skin at International level, it makes better headlines.

    I will be interested to see after 2012 when many suspect Redknapp will become the manager. What will be the expectation ? if your answer is we are going to become the first European team to win the world Cup in South America, go to the top of the class. So when we dont (sorry if thats a bit like tell kids there aint no Father Christmas) will the press be on the backs of our "English" manager ?.

    I think the answer will be no because of our insular attitude and "Our Arry" is one of us.

    Media, Premier League, FA. - they dont want change, its a cosy club as it is, thats why such irrelevant issues as the captaincy become the "big issues" they do.

  • Comment number 55.

    Capello should be under a microscope for sure - a dissecting microscope

  • Comment number 56.

    Personally, I think the guy needs to go. There seems an air of arrogance about him, the Captaincy of England IS a big deal, made so not just by the media but the sheer fact that any footballer dreams of captaining their country. Ever since school it was always a big thing to be the captain and 'leader' of your team.
    The way he has handled it is egotistical, the fact he sits there saying Ferdinand never came to him, if he respected his players and expects them to play for him then HE should have gone to find Rio not the other way round.
    I could be way off the mark but i seem to get the feeling of distain from Cappello and believe maybe if it were Italy he was managing then he maybe wouldn't go about things in quite the same way.

  • Comment number 57.

    Much ado about nothing. There is also much complaining about the England team, how about you stop treating them like little children. Take a step back and let them play rather than jumping on them all the time for really insignificant things. Capello did the right thing. Ferdinand is not available and has rarely been, get on with it.

  • Comment number 58.

    All the time we keep buying the rags that report this nonsense on their front and back pages, the more these so called journalists will continue to ask and regurgitate the same old questions. I stopped buying a daily paper some time ago but what I find more worrying is that the inept standard of journalism being seen in the tabloids and broadsheets on a daily basis now appears to have crept onto the so called impartial BBC.

    Bottom line is that Capello is here until the end of his contract, the FA can't afford the fire him so get behind the team. I don't give a damn who the captain is just as long as he wears the shirt with passion and pride... along with 10 others in the starting line-up...

  • Comment number 59.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 60.

    @52 - agree. dropping rooney for either carrol or bent would be like dropping messi for Argentina, he doesn't play well all the time but he's a proven match winner.
    Rooney had the lone striker role at utd last season and showed that when he gets good service (utd haven't been the same without valencia) he's a potent threat.


    I like Young and Lennon as they can beat a man, but we definately need a CDM so it has to be a 5 for me.
    I like carroll and bent, as options, but neither have Wayne's ability.

    England to win 3-0 if we see a game, or a 0-0 if wales show us some anti-football a la montenegro

  • Comment number 61.

    Will the media please stop going on about the captaincy. The english public does not care. We just want to see a winning England team. It's only journalists that are obsessed about the peripheral nonsense that surrounds our national football team.

    Terry should not have been stripped of it in the first place, he only lost it because of a media circus over his 'private' life, Capello did other people's dirty work for them. The England captaincy is NOT a popularity contest. I think the Beckham media circus made people confused about that and what exactly being a captain was. It's a very minor role in practical terms in the squad and it goes to the person best at doing media interviews and a strong personality who can organise the team on the field. In pure football terms, without bringing other issues to the table, Terry was always the best player in our current team for that role.

    Now please shut up, stop the pointless agenda that attempts to undermine Capello, and let the team get on with attempting to qualify.

  • Comment number 62.

    @46. LeeTUFC

    You make a good case, but you say there's no reason for our players to go abroad to play club football.

    I'd say there's every reason, when if you want to play for Arsenal, you find there's only 3 in 21 of the squad are English.

    It looks to me like you'd have to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona first before Arsene Wenger would be likely to want you as an English footballer.

    And then what about David Beckham, who played 113 games for Real Madrid from 2003-2007?

    Then take Owen Hargreaves, who though born in Canada, claims English nationality but started his career with Bayern Munich. It was only after playing for Bayern for 7 years that Man U wanted him.

    Adam Johnson was also being kept out of the first team at Championship League Middlesborough, and it was rumoured Real Madrid was interested in him.

    If he had gone to Real, he probably would have been a big star by now, whereas he's been disrespected and underused both by Mancini and Capello for not making it big enough quickly enough in England.

    So there's really plenty of reason for English players to go abroad, even sometimes just for the better weather, or the comparative lack of abuse from fans and media that is the case in most foreign countries.

    I remember Keven Keegan, one of our first ever major exports to Hamburg, said it was really cool how he could walk down the street just like anybody else in Hamburg and nobody hassled him, whereas he never could have done that in England or Liverpool.

    So I'm sorry, but I think there's lots of good reasons for an English footballer - especially from the lower leagues or non top 6 premier league teams to go abroad, but it's clear that the foreign coaches abroad just don't want the English players.

    But this bit you said I have to quote:

    "We always go on in this country about not having enough English players playing in our sides, but if they were good enough they would get in. That's our problem, not that there are too many foreign players"

    Sorry, but I strongly disagree with that.

    It's always been tough to get into professional football in this country even if you are very talented, and quite often it has been who you know or a lucky break or you never got discovered.

    Notice the only thing that Britain is much good at producing is individual sportsmen/women.

    We have world champion snooker players, darts players, one top 5 tennis player, racing drivers, some athletes and so on, but where we fail is in the team sports.

    The reason being, that in individual sport you can rise on your own merit, but in team sport you have to get into a team, which is down to somebody's opinion of whether they think you're good enough, which is really not that easy to assess, because it takes quite a lot of attention and watching to know, which most aspiring players are never going to get.

    That's why it has taken Adam Johnson till 23, to get noticed, and finally make it into the England team (though now he's been left out again), and I doubt he would have been a professional footballer at all, except he was at the Middlesborough football academy.

    My personal guess is that there's absolutely loads of talent out there, which is being ignored or not nurtured, because all the top clubs want is to buy ready made stars, who are usually well established names from abroad.

    I think actually, the football academies are the only hope for more native born British or English players to make it now, and if anybody has got a son who they think has talent, I reckon that's the way to go.

    But for now, I think when you have only 3 of 23 English players in the Arsenal first team squad, there's no getting away from the fact that we're letting our own native talent down.

    It's out there, but the people who matter just aren't looking for it.

  • Comment number 63.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 64.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 65.

    YAWN

    Your agenda is obvious to all Phil, build 'em up, knock 'em down, boring boring boring.

  • Comment number 66.

    The way he has handled it is egotistical, the fact he sits there saying Ferdinand never came to him, if he respected his players and expects them to play for him then HE should have gone to find Rio not the other way round

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

    that is a really good point and one that i do strongly concur with.

  • Comment number 67.

    62. At 12:09pm on 26th Mar 2011, World Cup Wally wrote:
    @46. LeeTUFC

    You make a good case, but you say there's no reason for our players to go abroad to play club football.

    I'd say there's every reason, when if you want to play for Arsenal, you find there's only 3 in 21 of the squad are English.

    It looks to me like you'd have to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona first before Arsene Wenger would be likely to want you as an English footballer.

    And then what about David Beckham, who played 113 games for Real Madrid from 2003-2007?

    Then take Owen Hargreaves, who though born in Canada, claims English nationality but started his career with Bayern Munich. It was only after playing for Bayern for 7 years that Man U wanted him.

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

    Are you saying that David Beckham hadn't made it in football before he went to Real Madrid?

    ??????????

    As for Owen Hargreaves, he grew up in Canada and went to Germany when he was 13 or 14, I believe. It's not an english club's fault that he ended up, well...playing for a German team when he was a teenager in Germany. Also, once he became a good player at Bayern, has it not occurred to you that he remained at Bayern because they didn't want to sell him? And when they did, they got a great deal out of Man Utd for him bearing in mind his tendonitis and chronic injury problems since.

    I don't really see what your point is. Arsene Wenger has paid out for english/british talent in the past- Matthew Upson, Sol Campbell, Richard Wright, Francis Jeffers, Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey- and when they've been good enough to make it at Arsenal they have made it. The same applies to all of our top clubs.

    I do agree that more mid-ranking english players should move abroad to improve their technique, but I don't believe you've used the best examples.

    "My personal guess is that there's absolutely loads of talent out there, which is being ignored or not nurtured, because all the top clubs want is to buy ready made stars, who are usually well established names from abroad."

    I do agree with this point, in terms of raw talent- but there is more to making it than just 'talent' and I think many of our young players become distracted or lose their drive to improve to world class level. We need to question why this is. I believe it's a cultural thing (it's not 'cool' to be ambitious, motivated and highly driven in the UK) and not just down to education and coaching standards because our facilities in this country for football are fantastic, despite what anyone else might say.

  • Comment number 68.

    Really tiresome reading about Terry/captaincy and Capello under the microscope yet again. There must be no other stories to tell.....

    But for what it is worth, if England fail to win today, he must go, compensation or not. His handling of players, selections and tactics are poor to say the least.

    And I am tired of his apologists claiming his record as a manager at the top is second to none. At club level maybe. At Madrid or Milan he could go out and buy to build his team from amongst the best players in the world. If he didn't have a top class centre-forward or left midfielder he could go out and get one. In international football you have to work within your restrictions. We have had neither of the above for a decade. The mark of the manager is working around that. And he continues to fail....

    Same old formations, tactics and selections, no wonder everyone is bored....

  • Comment number 69.

    @60

    fair point actually on rooney's form for man u in lone striker role, it shows how much of a short memory i have cos i was sure (up until rooneys injury in the champions league) that we had finally cracked it with the 4-5-1 formation with rooney at the sharp end. The poor subsequent performances have cast a bit of shadow on that view but, as u say, who are we going to play if we don't play rooney? (no one better than him)

    If we do play the 4-5-1 then the midfield selection becomes crucial. I actually don't think capello will go with 4-5-1, i think he will play 4-4-2 with rooney and carroll upfront. That may be fine against wales but, like u, i would be worried about england (given their recent performances) playing any decent side with just two in central midfield. I think we need a holding midfielder, and scott parker should have played many more games for england than he has so far.

    The rest of the midfield is tricky, we have good but not outstanding wingers (apart from johnson who could be a top, top player). Wilshire is a given, and i would go with theo on the right, so then it is just leaves the last central midfield spot. lampard would get the nod from me with gerrard out.

    This all seems to make sense (to me!!) but then it still brings me round to my original point, which is that england is SUCH a conundrum. If rooney plays like he did last season then 'game on', if rooney plays like he has for most of this season, we would really struggle.

    We should of course beat wales, not to be arrogant about it but their best player is injured and their second best player is just coming back from long term injury. 3-1 england

    I guess

  • Comment number 70.

    63. At 12:12pm on 26th Mar 2011, Mr C wrote:

    61. At 12:08pm on 26th Mar 2011, Vox Populi wrote:
    Stop the pointless agenda that attempts to undermine Capello, and let the team get on with attempting to qualify.

    -----------

    That's all the media seem to do. Every press conference. Try to catch Capello out someway or another. Its pathetic that someone of Capello's pedigree has to be subjected to gossip hungry journalists every press conference.
    ______________________________________________________

    I have to agree Mr C.

    Not just in football,but almost all media reporting has become more about the journalist being a smart alec,trying to create their own headlines.

    How many times have you seen the headline (for example)

    "Strauss says Sri Lanka will be a doddle"

    when he actually says "We feel confident going into the game,but have the highest respect for the opposition.It won't be easy."

    Too many meeja types think they are all powerful,all knowing beacons of light and truth.When in reality they are simply guttersnipes.

  • Comment number 71.

    @67 Vox Populi

    My point is that we are disrespecting and failing our own players or aspiring players, and valuing players far higher who come from abroad (or started out abroad iike Hargreaves).

    (I only mentioned David Beckham as an example because LeeTUFC said English players had no reason to go abroad, but clearly Beckham thought different).

    We seem to have lost faith in ourselves as a nation, and somehow believe that every thing that is foreign, including footballers, is better.

    That's why we've got foreign managers for most of our top teams, two successive (ignoring temporary McLaren) foreign England managers, even Republic of Ireland has an Italian manager (Trapattoni) and I'd guess when Sir Alex Ferguson finally packs it in, he'll be replaced by a foreign manager too.

    It may be that England has failed to modernise its football, not worked enough on the technical aspect, but if that has been true, then we should just watch and learn from foreign teams instead of importing all their players and managers.

    Because if we follow the latter route, as we've done, we end up with few English top class managers, and probably only a fraction of the top class English players we'd otherwise have had right now.

    One of the main problems of course, is that we've got loads of foreign owners of all the top clubs now, and in my opinion, they mostly couldn't care less about England, or the fact that English players are not being nurtured and coming through.

    Personally I believe that a football team belongs to the people of that area, not whatever big businessman owns the club, and I think the club owners therefore are the real villains of the piece, and responsible for the decline of English national football, by simply seeking success by importing foreign players and managers, without hardly any consideration for the local talent, and the native born English or British people.

    (anyway, I've said enough on Phil's blog now, so that's my last reply on this one, I'll leave others to have their say).

  • Comment number 72.

    The press are pretty disgusting. We all know that.

    The whole clamour over this has nothing to do with Capello's abilities, or certain players suitability to shake hands with the opposition, swap a pennant or two.

    It has everything to do with the press obsession with the 'England Manager'. Every England manager I remember has had to contend with the poison given up by the press for that chalice.

    Right back to Bobby Robson, all I can remember is the press undermining the England managers and wanting them sacked.

    Yeah, the press are a disgusting concept.

  • Comment number 73.

    @ 62 World cup wally

    Not sure what your point is about Adam Johnson. He was a regular starter for Boro in the championship, and actually made a fair few appearences before that for them when they were in the EPL still. It hasn't taken him until the age of 23 to get noticed, he played 19 games for the England U-21 side so it's pretty clear he was getting noticed long before this season. It's just now that fans are starting to notice him and jumping on the bandwagon.

    I agree some players take a bit longer to develop as i said, and maybe these players do go unnoticed, but if they are good enough then I think most of them will get picked up by other clubs. It's obviously difficult judging the merits of a player at a young age (Man City let go of Ryan Giggs so it goes to show just how difficult it is) but if they want to be a pro footballer then most will end up in the system and get noticed eventually. Not all the top players are stars from a young age. It took Iniesta until the age of 20 to break into the Barca first team and 22 to make his debut for Spain. For some it takes a little longer but in the end their talent should get them noticed.

    We do produce some good individual sports stars, but also some excellent international teams. Our football team is still near the top, though probably a second-tier nation, but in case it escaped your notice, the Rugby team just won the 6 nations and our cricket team the ashes, so we do also have pedigree for producing good teams.

    As for your arguments about Wenger, I think your clearly harbour a great dislike for the man. He doesn't actively play no english players, he picks a team based on their merits as footballers, not because of their nationality. If he could have a team of 11 english players who he felt were better than what he's got and he could afford to get them then i am sure he would. As Vox Populi pointed out, Wenger has had several english players in the past, and spent good money on a couple (Walcott, Jeffers). He also developed one of the best full backs this country has had in Ashley Cole. No matter how dubious his behaviour at times, he's one of the best in the world. And now he's got young Wilshere coming through. If they're good enough he'll play them. I just think foreign players are willing to work that bit harder than some of the English equivalents at Arsenal.

  • Comment number 74.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 75.

    People need to manage expectations. They 'expect' England, and English footballers to be better than they are.

    We are ranked 7-9 in the World. If we were a Premier League team we might be Everton or Villa. And that should be the subsequent expectation.

    Nobody here would expect Villa or Everton to be repeatedly challenging at the top of the Premiership....but with England they (the press) seem to.

    A quarter-finals at major tournaments is our level. That's it. Exceeding that is a bonus....and most football fans are hoping/dreaming.

    It's too easy for the glory hunter English fans who follow top Premiership teams (because they win, but might represent an area 100's of miles away). Which is why on most England away's, there are a vast majority of non-Premiership team followers.

    We know pain. We know expectation. We know disappointment. We can't switch allegiance at 7-8 years old to a team they see winning silver pots on the teevee.

    We care.

    Those that don't we don't need. The press and the rubber necking England 'fans' that scorn can 'do one' as far as I am concerned.

  • Comment number 76.

    The captaincy issue is a bit of a red herring. We should be talking sbout Capello's managerial skills. Have to agree with letusbefair in this regard. Some managers are good at getting a lot from limited resources, for example Hiddink, and some, like Capello, are not. Given that, his tactics are out of date, and he has no idea of what to do next if they are not working, which, against better sides, they never do. Finally, it seems that, whatever he is doing behind the scenes, it is certainly not motivating the players: in some games it looks as if they don't want to play for him, which is a bad sign.

  • Comment number 77.

    I agree with the sentiment that this captainancy issue has no way overshadowed the game, except in the eyes of the media. I just want the game to start so people can talk about that.

    So what he said Terry would never be captain again. Sometimes it's weaker to be afraid of reversing yourself than it is to be adaptable and change your mind. Yes, Terry was alledged to have slept with Bridge's ex, that's nothing compared to Rio "I got myself suspended from Euro 2004" Ferdinand. In both cases you can forget their transgressions and get on with the football.

  • Comment number 78.

    There is no easier way to understand how difficult this match is going to be for England: one look at the table and you will see "Wales, played 3, defeats 3". Add to this the fact they have Garry Speed as a manager and then have a look at the team they will play. No wonder the media try to make something out of nothing - not that they'd need encouragement anyway, as the finger is always pointed to media when the England side is unsettled.

  • Comment number 79.

    Who cares about the captaincy truly when surely the most worrisome aspect of all this is that Capello still has to stoop to the levels of sheer dross and ineptitude and include the woeful Darren Bent,a man so anonymous in so much of his career that it beggars belief this is the best England has to offer.

  • Comment number 80.

    How come the English constantly put down their manager. The only time you were ever going anywhere was with Venables. You sacked him and ever since it whinge after whinge be it the press or the people. Your country does not know how to support you manager. Take a tip from the Irish.

  • Comment number 81.

    It's about time Capello was asked questions in italian by english journalists and see if they can get any sense out of him.
    How on earth he is still there after that abject south african summer god only knows.
    He has been a total disaster for the national game.

  • Comment number 82.

    81. At 14:39pm on 26th Mar 2011, paul scarf wrote:
    It's about time Capello was asked questions in italian by english journalists and see if they can get any sense out of him.
    How on earth he is still there after that abject south african summer god only knows.
    He has been a total disaster for the national game.
    ------------------------------------------------------
    I doubt there is a journalist that could manage asking a question in Italian. Most of them can't ask a decent question in English for gods sake.

  • Comment number 83.

    At half time of the match, how silly do all these articles about Wales, Capello, etc look. First half saw Wales defending desperately and England winning 2-0. That other article about Wilshere v Ramsey looks as laughable. Like they were going to be key players in the match.

    Journalism may be an art and a complex profession. English sports journalism though is so so so childish.

  • Comment number 84.

    Patiently awaits the blog on how Capello is a genius and England are going to win everything in the future with ease

  • Comment number 85.

    Never mind the captaincy. The result is more important and England got the result today.

  • Comment number 86.

    No 71. World cup wally.

    Totally agree with your point about the way we revere all things foreign as regards coaching and management. The best way would have been to learn, like you say, some of their methods and ideas and incorporate them into our game but as ever in this country we prefer instead the quick fix solutions such as paying Capello 6 million a year, money that would have been better spent on youth and grass roots coaching and development, but that requires hard work and planning, things that our governing bodies would rather shy away from.

 

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