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Buoyant Capello leads from the front

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Phil McNulty | 19:42 UK time, Friday, 5 September 2008


England coach Fabio Capello was in expansive - almost joyous - mood in the same Barcelona room where Steve McClaren shrunk, with the Italian giving the most dynamic personal performance of his short reign.

It was in the bowels of the Olympic Stadium 18 months ago that McClaren cracked under the strain of hideous personal abuse from fans and the sheer strain of a faltering Euro 2008 campaign.

McClaren cut his media conference short with the infamous words: "Gentlemen - if you want to write whatever you want to write you can write it" - and of course everybody did.

He followed that up with a light-hearted (hopefully) request for the England coach driver to mow down one of his tabloid critics as he stepped out in front of the team bus leaving the stadium.

Capello cut an altogether more authoritative figure than his cruelly-lampooned predecessor as he delivered an assured, humourous and occasionally combative performance as the curtain-raiser to the first competitive game of his international coaching career.

Fine words and positive body language are no guarantees of the performance the nation expects here in the late summer heat of Barcelona - namely an improvement on the stodgy 3-0 win delivered in a poisonous, spiteful atmosphere here last year.


But it was as if the scent of competition had got the juices flowing in Capello. He was ready for all questions and demonstrated it by even acting as his own translator for questions from the Spanish media.

England's players strolled to training across the track where Linford Christie and Sally Gunnell struck gold 16 years ago. And while England should not have to hit the gold standard to dispose of Andorra, a comprehensive win will clear the heads nicely for Wednesday's key meeting with Croatia in Zagreb.

A member of Her Majesty's Media has tried - without any discernible success - to fire up Capello's interest in Worcestershire County Cricket Club, but he showed some promise here.

Questions were either met with a straight bat, tickled down to fine leg or driven firmly through the covers in the case of an inquiry about Harry Redknapp's criticism of England's performance against the Czech Republic.

He was as decisive and positive as he will expect his England players to be when they face Andorra.

Are you nervous: "No." Next question.

And what about pressure? A shrug and a laugh: "I have always had pressure and the pressure was very strong at the clubs I have managed because it was one club one city.

"Here the pressure is long. You have to wait, wait, wait between matches and think a lot."

This may be a pressure point for Capello, but if he feels the strain it does not show.

The major talking point has been Capello's mystifying exclusion of Michael Owen from a team short of goals - although it was not mystifying to him.

"I know Michael Owen scores goals but I saw him in his last game. I checked him very well and decided he was not fit."

Capello added: "This is my opinion" - complete with a smile that carried a hint of menace that ruled out any further serious inquiries on the grounds it would be the equivalent of smashing your head into the nearby wall.

He also showed a growing appreciation of what is required of England's players when asked about Jamie Carragher's contentious assertion that losing for Liverpool hurt more than losing for England.

"If you do not have the heart for the national team stay home. To be proud of the badge is very important, " said the Italian as he jabbed a finger towards the Three Lions crest on his England training top.

There were strong words for Portsmouth boss Redknapp, who delivered fierce criticism of Capello's team after what he called a "diabolical" 2-2 draw against the Czech Republic - accusing him of "killing" Steven Gerrard by playing him out of position.

The rough translation was this - he does not criticise Premier League teams he has watched so Premier League managers should not criticise his England team.

To use a current FA buzz-word he wants respect.

And whereas McClaren left this room in haste last time England were here, this time FA director of communications Adrian Bevington could barely stop Fabio as he happily waited and waved at a Spanish journalist to ask him one final question.

He looked to be relishing the occasion and the pressure of knowing England does not just expect victory against Andorra - it expects a bit of a thrashing to be handed out.

Capello wants victory first and the thrashing will be a welcome bonus.

Conditions could hardly be better for the players as Barcelona basks in warm temperatures, a sharp contrast to the rain and wind they left behind in London.


The FA's departing chief executive Brian Barwick was an interested by-stander at England's training session, and rightly so after even being excluded from the traditional pre-match handshakes against the Czech Republic.

He looked in good spirits as his reign draws to a close, hoping England can get at least four points from their next two games to send him towards the end on a high.

Barwick was the driving force behind Capello's appointment, which has yet to produce the sort of performance the FA had hoped for when he arrived at Soho Square.

But the coach looked in the mood for victory as he strode on to the training ground to join his players.

He has provided the words, actions and positive messages - now it is up to his England players to shake off the shackles of fear that grip them too often and start their World Cup 2010 campaign with victory.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Croatia will be the interesting game, God willing. If Capello drops points against Andorra, it's going to be a miserable year, especially since sacking him mid-qualifying campaign would be a disaster as well.

    To my mind, Capello is mad to seek anything other than a draw against Croatia. That still means going for a goal, because there's no better insurance, but the fact of the matter is, an away draw against Croatia is a good result for the sort of competition this is, and Capello would be wise to take it.

  • Comment number 2.

    If it goes bad, it isn't Capello's fault. It is the media's fault for thinking England can easily beat Andorra.

    Talk about over hyping and putting incredibly pressure on our mediocre NOT-worldclass players. We're not in 1966, stop it media people.

  • Comment number 3.

    crikey, you sure love crapello. worth every penny in your books? a pay rise? get outta here.

  • Comment number 4.

    so far we have seen NO changes, in fact a step backwards in terms of style and confidence in play. a 3-0 win against andorra and everyone will forget
    1. who we are playing
    2. how badly we've played in our last 4 games
    3. how fundamentally a non-leage player has forced himself in through his past status.
    4. how woodgate was dropped for lescott
    5. how a player who has scored 8 goals in 84 games, 45 of which are starts is selected as one of england's finest.
    6. how anyone in the modern game in a role which should be about heart, courage and honour earns £6.8million a year and yet takes 6 months to learn english.
    7. how the FA have flopped in denying the public a highlights show of this game coming up on national tv
    8. generally how dire this situation is.
    9. how one of the big 4 teams in england fielded 0.06% of its minutes last season to an englishman, and 99.94% to foreigners yet has the arrogance on comment on the national decline.
    10. how crapello has complained about the lack of talent in this country.

  • Comment number 5.

    I don't think he's worth the money, but come on, everyone is expecting whatever manager to make England world cup winners. That's an insane expectation for a team that is so crap. The success of the Premier League has created an illusion that since the PL is top notch, England team is automatically too.

  • Comment number 6.

    so far we have seen NO changes, in fact a step backwards in terms of style and confidence in play. a 3-0 win against andorra and everyone will forget
    1. who we are playing
    2. how badly we've played in our last 4 games
    3. how fundamentally a non-leage player has forced himself in through his past status.
    4. how woodgate was dropped for lescott
    5. how a player who has scored 8 goals in 84 games, 45 of which are starts is selected as one of england's finest.
    6. how anyone in the modern game in a role which should be about heart, courage and honour earns ?6.8million a year and yet takes 6 months to learn english.
    7. how the FA have flopped in denying the public a highlights show of this game coming up on national tv
    8. generally how dire this situation is.
    9. how one of the big 4 teams in england fielded 0.06% of its minutes last season to an englishman, and 99.94% to foreigners yet has the arrogance on comment on the national decline.
    10. how crapello has complained about the lack of talent in this country.


    mate ive seen you post over and over for months. the fact is you hate the idea of capello being england manger, you have constantly attacked him from the beginning and constantly looked to arsenal when talking about the state of football. what has arsenal got to do with the state of the english game?

    wenger plays his team on merit. im not a gunners fan,but i know that just below the first team is a core of highly talented english players who should be appearing within the next few years. also wenger has also stated how he would like to have an english core again, but he staes he will always pick players on merit and ability (bentley wasnt good enough, and while i think hes agood player i still remain unconvinced by him)

    you obviously know little about capello. he always had decent english, however he was smart enough to know that the media here will attack every weakness you have ( they still attacked the fact he didnt speak in english)

    bullard is there bcause he is on form and talented, he not be one for the future (personally i couldnt care less if he only played these two game, if his performane menat we got valuable points), but he has shown ability and real passion, anyone who saw the pictures of him at training saw just how happy he was to be there, and i applaud his rise.

    no one is going forget how badly we have played, and its not just the 4 games, been pretty poor for at least the last 2 years.

    yes lescott shouldnt be in the team on form, but woodgate is barely fit, neither should be there

    youve also shown your hate for walcott, which clearly all stem frms the fact your a spurs fan, which is a shame cos most spur fans i know are pretty level headed guys. and no, lennon is not better than him.

    capello is here to stay unitl he gets us to the world cup or is fired, so put up or shut up


  • Comment number 7.

    Capello is the England manager. Get used to it. I don't want YOU as the manager. Get behind your team and manager or support someone else. You don't help the England team with depressing remarks.

    A supporter is as important as players and management.

    When we start to see that, you may see how much power is actually in the support of a team.

    England rugby team reckon playing at Twickenham is worth an extra 12 points (and they don't mean because the turf has hidden magic in it)!

    Come on England :)

  • Comment number 8.

    "miserable year"
    "sacking him mid-qualifying"
    "Mediocre, non-world class players"
    "a step back in terms of style and confidence"
    "a team that is so crap"

    Bloody hell. It's no wonder the England team play like they've got frozen legs. They haven't played a competitive minute under Capello and a fair section of the English public have the manager sacked and the team derided as a shower of losers.

    And one of the comments blamed the MEDIA for England's lack of confidence on the pitch!

    Although I'm a Scot, I hope England put 12 past Andorra and light up a dreary rainy Saturday night.

    And even more I hope they stuff Croatia and i can check the blogs on Wednesday night and read how England are nailed on to win the world cup and Bentley is the new Beckham circa 1998.

    You did like him then didn't you? It's so hard to keep track.

  • Comment number 9.

    I think it is totally unfair to generalise the English national team as 'crap' but simply outdated and misled. If any of you noticed how well our under 21s get on in each tournament and are perceived as very worthy opponents by all nations then its clearly a problem that lies with the senior team, they even beat Portugal 2-0 tonight.

    I don't believe the pressure is a hugely contributing factor as it seems to be an easy excuse for playing badly, after two minutes on the pitch the adrenaline, sweat and aggression is enough to put any of that out of their minds. The simple problem in my view is not changing an underachieving team. How many additions are there honestly to the team that failed to qualify for the Euro? all the players are the same!!! No Agbonlahor who has scored a hattrick already this season, no wright phillips who came on and scored 2, and where the hell is Ashley Young. All out for Beckham to be in the squad, who needs a zimaframe to bend it like he used to. He was a great but he needs to go.

    In order for our team to develop as a 'team' get some youngsters in now, beckham lampard (not gerrard) will all be decrepid by 2010.. unplayable!! why not utilise this small amount of games we have to develop 'some' not all of the younger players. They have the hunger and will go out and get it whilst the seniors seem to rely on meals on wheels for their celebratory snack.

    Frustrated England fan

  • Comment number 10.

    Oh yeah, and to add to my point. If Cesc Fabregas was English, any manager would get slaughtered for leaving him out of their starting 11. Look how Spain won Euro 2008.

  • Comment number 11.

    lewis_8 - To be fair, I qualified my statements with "if they don't beat Andorra." Which I stand by - England losing to Andorra, the 186th ranked team in the world, and the third worst team in Europe - sets such an appalling start to the qualifying campaign that it is going to be a turgid and ugly slog to the end.

    I don't think that's going to happen.

  • Comment number 12.

    They'll beat Andorra because they're fitter and technically better. This doesn't apply to the Croatia match. Another attribute required for that one which "us England players aint got enough of mate, coz our brains 'urt, to be 'onest, know wot we mean?"
    Don't let 'em near the squad unless they score over 90 on an I.Q test. Unless they can run a hundred metres in 11 seconds of course.
    We might be able to scrape up a 22 if we're lucky and most of 'em will be fast at least.

  • Comment number 13.

    Timmy_Toerag - The players we put on the pitch are good enough. Almost any pick for a starting XI that isn't heavily outside the mainstream or what any employable manager would pick is going to include, by my count, six players who play for teams that have won either one of the top leagues in the world or the CL in the last five years. England players are more than good enough.

    The problems are tactics, particular holes in the pitch, and a lack of a winning mentality.

    But on a day when we're not missing Gerrard, Carrick, Hargreaves, and possibly Ferdinand, Croatia shouldn't pose a massive threat. England should win that about 60% of the time, draw 25%, and lose 15%, based on the caliber of players.

    That we don't is a problem. But what the actual cause of the problem is is a tricky question nobody has answered well.

    In any case, missing the players we're missing, playing away, playing with a lack of confidence, and playing in a competition where Croatia is the sole credible threat to England, a draw is a very good result to pursue.

  • Comment number 14.

    i think england will be ok against andorra i mean 20-0 n 1-0 still give u only 3 points which is wot cappello is saying i think when he said three points are important sometimes winning ugly is the key to success once u start winning the style will come automatically coz of the confidence but to go to croatia n expect a win its not a fair assessment england are ranked 15th where as croatia are 5th. england didnt quality for euro 2008, quarterfinal 2006 world cup, quarter final euro 2004 quarterfinal 2002 world cup where as croatia have been to semis n quarters n were much fancied for euro 2008 if fate hadnt deserted them. so a think capello would take a 0-0 or 1-1 with his eyes closed.
    the problem for england is simple its nothing to do with tempo n stuff its simple movement off the ball, if u watch arsenal or any gd club side or even croatia, movement off the ball is brilliant players are always making space to recieve the ball thats wot england need to do unlike their midfielders who pass once and then stand static n make no attempt to play one two's.

  • Comment number 15.

    khansaab1985 - I agree. England's tactics are problematic. And I think this is where Capello sees improvement, if not success yet.

    I will say, Croatia, based on their players, have been very lucky. They had one of the two easiest groups in the tournament - probably the easiest, given that the other reasonably easy one had the freakishly good Turks and the champions, Greece.

  • Comment number 16.

    As I've stated several times in the past, what this England team needs is a shake-up. Not one of the players in that squad deserves their place by right, as some seem to think. Perhaps it would do the English players the world of good to be unsure of their places, and actually have to work and fight to be picked. Capello is an unlucky man, he is in the unfortunate position of having far too many diva-like egos in his pool of talent, and too many players who just can't, or won't, play well together. I applaud the inclusion of Jimmy Bullard, looking at him, he's been the only player in that squad to actually show that he's proud to have his place in the squad. I bet you, if he is picked to play, he will not let a single one of his team-mates down. And hopefully his infectious attitude for the game and for team spirit will spread through the rest of the players, and spur them on to play together instead of being 11 individuals on a football pitch. The sum of the parts is greater than the whole, and that is completely wrong. Put 11 Championship-level players in there and they will play with pride, with passion and above all with belief, and the whole will become greater than the sum of the parts. For too long now we've suffered mediocre team performances with the odd bit of individual genius thrown in, and it's just not good enough. It's not the manager we need to keep changing, it's the players.

  • Comment number 17.

    chizzleface - I think we have to also accept that the Sven era was not nearly as bad as its detractors seem to want it to be. Three quarter-final appearances in three major tournaments is far from disastrous - especially when you consider that, for instance, in 2006, Spain, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Sweden - all formidable teams - went out before England, and Brazil and Argentina both also went out in the quarters.

    Similarly, in 2002, France, Argentina, Portgual, Mexico, and Italy all went out earlier than we did. In 2004, Spain, Italy, Germany, and France all went down as soon as England did or earlier.

    These are not crap results. I can think of ten teams that nobody would be surprised to see in a World Cup Final. Given that only four can make it, it's no great slight to England that they haven't this decade.

  • Comment number 18.

    England haven't played a single competitive game under Capello, and people are calling for his head. It's actually depressing to read the illogical ramblings of posters on these blogs.

    Especially funny was the berating of Capello for not mastering English after 6 months despite his large salary. The list posted by designbyvinny is truly ridiculous. How blinded by bias he must be to write such drivel and believe it to be rational is quite scary.

    Capello has a brilliant record as a manager. He doesn't take any nonsense, he selects the players he feels are best suited to the task. He doesn't care if the public agree or disagree. The fact that some of the posters on these boards believe he should have selected different players doesn't mean Capello is weak, or is picking the team the FA want. It just means that Capello, a man who has had success at the highest level at various clubs, has a different opinion to those posters. I wonder whose opinion we should trust...

  • Comment number 19.

    I attended the Czech-England match and well we were somewhat fortunate to escape with a draw. There are some faults in the team which hopefully will be overcome, Capello has a great pedigree and he has a difficult task, give him time.

    I still see some faults with a few players in the squad however:

    David James is the most enigmatic player in existance, when he is in the zone he is phenominal, when he isn't... Well you saw his rushing out.

    Paul Robinson, I don't think he's justified the call yet, he hasn't made a huge impact since arriving at Blackburn and he should focus on getting his game back before being exposed to the immense pressure again.

    David Beckham should retire from international football, I enjoy his character and pride but unfortunately he is past his best and should step aside for someone to take his role, he is one of the best set piece players in the world but England should stop relying on set pieces for goals and focus more on scoring during open play.

    Emile Heskey, Without Michael Owen I do not see why he has been picked above others, as a partnership he compliments Owen extremely well but on his own and given that Wayne Rooney is a secondary striker nowadays and Theo is still developing but usually employed as a winger, we only have Defoe as the natural striker... given Bents amazing pre-season run I am suprised he isn't there.

    It is good to see Capello is choosing some players like Bullard, who whilst may not be the dream team player obviously shows alot of passion and happiness to have been called up. It's an amazing attitude to have and I hope his confidence will inspire a performance from him, should he play but I feel too many England players see International duty more of a "duty" than honor.

    I would like to see Woodgate in the side, but given Tottenhams recent shambles it isn't too suprising he has been ommitted.

  • Comment number 20.

    If nerves do not play a part, Bullard could potentially play a better role in our qualifying than any of the "better" token players (ie. Gerrard, Lampard, Barry)

    Regrettably I would prefer more of a change to the England squad, but this would take a significant risk on Capello’s part, while choosing the existing “elite” is the easier safer option. However, if Capello cannot transform the current crop then I genuinely believe no one can.

    People assume because of the prominence of the Premier League that England should automatically dominate competitions, but as we all know the Premier League is made up of very little English talent.

  • Comment number 21.

    I would like to know why Capello went to watch the Super Cup final in Monaco 1 English player sounds like a good jolly to me more waste of money at tha FA.
    If we were to lose to Andora what do people think the FA should do? Say what you like Capellos performance so far has been less than average, Beckham been a good servant but playing a player from the MLS is the end in my book.
    We need to cap wages in the Premier league or we risk having the England team made up from the lower Divisions

  • Comment number 22.

    i don't understand why we are paying a man millions of pounds a year to make the exact same mistakes that both sven and he who's name i cannot mention made in the past, i mean for gods sake, gerrard and lampard cannot play in the same team, we'd all love them too, but it just doesn't work! lets have some balance in the team please, one holding midfielder, one attacking midfielder and two wide men, its not "rocket science!"

  • Comment number 23.

    Don't worry Capello, most of the nation won't be watching: it's on Setanta Sports! - The death of the England's football team is nearly upon us, there will be no Mark Twain speech for this scenario, it's a road to oblivion.

  • Comment number 24.

    Don't let 'em near the squad unless they score over 90 on an I.Q test.


    Tell you something, that wouldn't be a bad qualifying criteria to post on these boards judging by some of the comments I read...

  • Comment number 25.

    Has anybody noticed a change when the mangers has changed . They still play the same what ever manger has been incharge .
    How often has it been said that we cant keep possection of the football under pressure . We go one down and start to try to play . Have few ideas aginst minor sides.

    Do we have the player . I look at how well english clubs do in europe 3 teams in the last 4 of the champions league last year . that tells you english teams are good enough so how about english players who play for those clubs .

    Terry ,Lampard , J Cole , A Cole , W Bridge

    Man U
    Rooney ,Ferdinand ,Carrick ,Brown,Hargreves

    Liverpool Gerrard

    Arsenal Walcot

    Do these players play well for there clubs in europe the answer is most definitly yes

    So then i comes down to the attitude of the players when they put on the england shirt .

    Maybe the premier league clubs are more important than our national team .

  • Comment number 26.

    It's interesting that he says that the clubs he's managed at are "one club one city". I'm sure the supporters of Torinio, Roma, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan would suggest otherwise.....

  • Comment number 27.

    The problem isn´t Capello, it´s the England players. They are simply not good enough at the moment. If England gets a draw in Zagreb it´s a good result for them. Don´t forget that Croatia has never lost a qualifing game at home.

  • Comment number 28.

    Oh well, ........'ere we go.........

    Come Thursday it'll be SirCap or CapMustgo.

    But which ?

    [24 Wash-CARU.........criterion ???]

  • Comment number 29.

    capello is simply not learning from previous england managers. PLEASE get rid of the circus that is Brand beckham, while a highly likeable fellow who has achieved a lot, he is past it. Fact. give someone young and raw like bentley, young, agbonlahor, SWP a chance.

    gerrard and lampard CANT play in the same team. there has to be one holding player and one attacking player with two wide men. it;s not rocket science.

    for someone who is paid 6million a year, he really ought to have done his research.

  • Comment number 30.

    I think a lot of the U21's players should come through. Despite some of our players being great for their clubs it is a total different story with the national team. IF they are too scared, if they play with fear, if they aren't mentally right they will never win and that's the impression I'm getting. Let's get some new faces in and keep our current players on the bench in case we need an impact...



  • Comment number 31.

    what would u prefer though? england to triumphantly thrash croatia and march on to a world cup win, or your club to achieve something incredible. for me its always been england. i would have happily had chelsea win both league and champions league for england to win euro 2008. maybe we are just kidding ourselves, is the premier league so successful just because of foreigners. sepp blatters quotas might do some good for england.

  • Comment number 32.

    stylish kid in the riot
    He managed Roma some I'm not sure they will be complaining. I thought it was a brilliant statement. No thoughts for your rivals.

  • Comment number 33.

    Have FIFA have changed the rules for World Cup qualification such that the coach's performance at press conferences can get his team to South Africa in 2010?

  • Comment number 34.

    When the same problems are apparent across the reigns of three different managers, the suspicion has to be that the problems don't originate with the managers.

    Of course, the problem is that the English fans and media talk about kicking out the "old guard" and filling the team with new-blood, young (inexperienced) talent, but if it happened and the team performed badly, the manager would be hauled over the coals for kicking out all the experienced players.

    They also demand experimentation without accepting that every experiment carries abject failure as one possible outcome.

    They also complain that England managers don't have a plan B and always fall back on the same old 4-4-2 formation, then complain again when the manager tries a new formation and it doesn't work because "everyone knows English players can only play 4-4-2".

    The FA, media and fans have set Capello a target of World Cup semi-final in two years time. That simply means he doesn't have a dozen games to experiment with systems and players to find the right combination to give birth to a new England team. By that time, there will inevitably have been enough failures in the experiments to ensure we don't even qualify.

    As teams prove every year, performances and results in friendly (pre-season) matches count for very little when the competitive action begins.

  • Comment number 35.

    I know this is slightly off-topic, but why haven't the BBC gained rights to highlights for these matches? I can understand being outbid on the live coverage - but cannot understand why they (or ITV) wouldn't pursue something for terrestrial viewers. And if they have been outbid on that too, then surely the FA need to step in and ensure this doesn't happen (or dare I say it - the govt). It is amazing our national sport is available on terrestrial in some form.
    Has football been downgraded in BBC's expenditure list? (after Masterchef and Strictly Come Dancing)

    re the matches - 4 nil v Andorra, 1-1 v Croatia...

  • Comment number 36.

    Lads (and Lasses!), theres only ONE message we all need to get into our heads.

    We can win a tournamment. But only ONE game at a time.

    Beat Andorra. A good result.
    Draw with Croatia. A good result.

    Lets not overhype.

    Lets not get carried away.

    Lets not think were the best until we are the best!

  • Comment number 37.

    National sport?

    Have you been asleep for the past five/ten years?

    $ky premier league, £££, $etanta, Man U£d, ££££, Chel$ki, Champion$ League, $$$$, Berbatov "I'm not in in for the money", Daniel £evy, Sir Alex Fergu$$$on "Inever tap up other teams players", and fans (paying customers) who have gone along with it all.

  • Comment number 38.

    I agree with poster #13.
    The talent is there, what is needed is a motivated , knowledgeable and committed coach / manager who can instill 'belief' in his best team and I think we have it with Capello in charge.
    He has already sharpened up many of the players by giving them clear and precise instructions about behaviour required on and off the field ie discipline and although friendly hasn't got down to the Stevie G etc. nonsense.
    I personally don't think Terry is good enough or has cleaned up his act sufficiently to be the Captain, we'll see.
    Maybe the continued use of David Beckham says a lot about the above, an old head, but a true professional is being kept around at least till they qualify.
    iIam sure some of the unders 21's will be elevated soon, but I put my faith in Mr Capello's choices for now.
    Good luck England.

  • Comment number 39.

    The 1966 team won because of a passion to both do well and win....Alan Ball ,Martin Peters and all never stopped running . The Olympic stars give their all as do the rugby players .From effort comes luck and you only have to look at the German team over the last 40 years ....from the start to the end they give it their all ....and it gets results .In the last World Cup Ferdinand said England were too confident...or did he mean arrogance . It is very hard to play against a team that comes after you for 90 mins ..sadly that is not always the case collectively with England .Choosing Bullard is interesting as he will hopefully put in the hard graft and keep his mind swiched on for the time he is on the pitch ..I hope so as that will become infectious for his team mates .If the team keep run their hearts out then luck will come and we will at feel that at least they gave it their all .Mr Capello and his staff are there to make sure they have 100 pc fully prepared the team and that means that past issues with previous managers where James had never watched videos of Zindane's free kicks are covered and that is down to the manager.

  • Comment number 40.

    If England,as one poster said, come away with a 4-0 win against Andorra and a 1-1 draw with Croatia, then that will represent reasonable success in my opinion.

    Capello is clever at keeping his line-up under wraps and it has been the subject of much media debate here.

    There have been a few alternative takes.

    Here are some.

    With Ferdinand out it will be Upson alongside Terry - although others have gone for Lescott.

    Another suggestion has been move Wes Brown into the centre and put Glen Johnsn in at right-back.

    There is also the theory that Theo Walcott might displace David Beckham.

    I would keep Beckham in for this one because history tells us Andorra have a habit of giving away needless fouls, bringing Beckham's deal ball expertise into play.

    This might highlight England's attacking limitations, but could bring goals.

    What do you think?

    Weather report by the way - hot and sunny now but some say rain later. This might suit England because temperatures have been soaring.

  • Comment number 41.

    Id like to know why the hell woodgate is not in the squad. He is fully fit, so i cant see any issue there. Ive always maintained that woody is one on the best natural defenders in the game wherever he has played when he is on song and fit there is very few who can beat him.

    Yet Capello has chosen to ignore this and has gone with Upson (championship player who plays okay from time to time) and Lescott who im sorry has got less mobility than a three legged ox.


    And whats more he picks Heskey who might be ok for wigan but not for the cream of england.

    Ah CrApello what are u on?

  • Comment number 42.

    I must confess the absence of Woodgate is a mystery to me. I am a major fan of Joleon Lescott, but he has had a nightmare start to the season at Everton and was probably shocked himself to be included.

    It is a selection brought into sharper focus by Rio Ferdinand's injury. It may not cost England against Andorra but could be a major talking point if Ferdinand does not recover in time to face Croatia. A big decision.

  • Comment number 43.

    Some of these comments seem to doubt that we can beat andorra, i mean come on you pessimists, my gran could probably beat them single handedly.

    Also to the guy who said english players can only play 4-4-2, dont most of the top clubs play 4-5-1 (man u, chelsea, liverpool) all of which have a high number of english players, joe cole, lampard, gerrard, rooney, terry, carrick, etc

  • Comment number 44.

    my england team would be







    Solid at the back, Barry could sit and hold, Rooney can do what he wants as he usually does but there is no pressure on him to score, he could be more of a creative influence, then pace up fron and on the wings

  • Comment number 45.

    Does anyone out there seriously doubt England can beat Andorra, as rkblogger suggests?

    Surely that can't be true?

  • Comment number 46.

    well ok maybe no one has actually said they think andorra will win but they are a lot of if, buts and maybes being thrown out there

  • Comment number 47.

    I think the reason we play so poorly is due to managers not understanding the english game. There is to much emphasis on tactics and slow patient passing games, which does not suit our players or our game.

    English football has always been about high tempo, passionate football, playing with your heart on your sleave. However in most recent games the players seem restricted as they try to adapt to this new style of play.

    I mean i'm not suggestion we go out there gung-ho every game with no tactics, but I think the manager needs to let the players express themselves a bit more.

  • Comment number 48.

    John Terry said at his Friday media conference that there is fear in the England players when they represent their country.

    This might explain some of the failures. Capello is renowned for tactical discipline, but I do not think he would specifically stop players expressing themselves.

    England cannot have any fear against Andorra. If they have then they are not cut out to play at this level.

  • Comment number 49.

    Lol surely they cant be afraid to play Andorra, if they are then I will happily step in!

    What I mean is that at times they look too tactical disciplined. The players seem afraid to inter-change positions etc and are just happy to sit in there specified positions. This therefore makes them easy to mark and doesn't create any space which seems to be our biggest problem at the moment.

  • Comment number 50.

    Wow! You've managed to write the flippin' obvious.... poorly. Anybody who's been following the England team lately knows all this already. What purpose do you fill precisely? (Besides attempting to stay off your own opinions because you've discovered everyone knows they're wrong.)

    In the spirit of the current saga at my beloved club, I would like to say "McNulty OUT!"

  • Comment number 51.

    Although I expect us to beat Andorra, I will be happy with a winning result regardless of victory by the odd goal or more, so long as we give it a good go.

    A combination of England's low confidence and the fact that Andorra will throw everyone behind the ball means we should be grateful of just a victory, as long as we play well.

    If we can come away from the game on a positive note then we can carry that into the Croatia match and hopefully start building up our shattered confidence and some momentum.


  • Comment number 52.

    So what are your views then The_Toonster? Or are you also 'attempting to stay off your own opinions because you've discovered everyone knows they're wrong' ??

  • Comment number 53.






    No idea how Brown is in the squad ahead of Richards. SWP is not a winger, he much prefers to drift inside and play in the hole - this is where he has had all his success at City. Cole cuts in far too much on the left, but i would only swap him for Downing if Downing showed his club form in internationals. Owen n Heskey up front, great combination.

  • Comment number 54.

    Doesn't surprise me if the England team are frightened all the time. Even in the original blog here, we see comments about being unsatisfied with a paltry 3-0 win. It's the negative pressure that's created that even if England comfortably win 3-0 but don't set the world alight with incredible skills that they will be viciously attacked by the press and sections of the fans.

    It's high time that the English press and their sheep (fans who believe the junk that's written) take a different approach. How about saying "Great - a new qualifying campaign, lets get behind the team and see just how good we can be"? Have the press and their sheep never heard of having a positive mental attitude? Don't they get how much having a positive outlook and approach means to performance?

    The fact is, the way the press is at the moment, England players first thought will be "Don't mess up". This should never be the case - they should not be frightened to make mistakes, provided they achieve the end result.

  • Comment number 55.

    In Australia we have a term for the English: "Whinging POMS". All people in this country seem to do is complain and critisize thier national team. Pressure does affect performance and getting booed off the pitch when you have just wore your heart on your sleeve for your country must be devestating. No wonder Jamie Carrager wrote what he did.. who would want to care and play for a country that dosent care for it players??

    People always say England Under-achieve, and in the last Euro's they did, but up until then you cant complain. England is not one of the best 10 teams in the world and when you think only 1 team can win, making it past the group stages is respectable.

    There is one image that sticks in my head from euro 2008, and thats when Russia were pounding the dutch and were 3-1 up with 4 minutes to go, the commentator said stated that the fans must be dissapointed with Hollands performance tonight, as they were heavy contenders to win the tournament... yet when they did a wide shot of the sea of orange, they were all singing, still supporting and enjoying the atmosphere... would this happen in England?? I think not, personally i think if England made it to a world cup final and lost most of you would boo them off the pitch and call for the head of the coach!! its pathetic!!

    I may not agree with some on Capellos inclusions, but he has made some changes, shown that he will not pick you if your not 100% fit no matter what your name or PAST record (Woodgate, Owen etc) and that if you are on form and passionate, you will be given a chance.

    Those boys go out there and give thier best against any opposition they play, but they have such a burden on them, i wouldnt be surprised if half the team needs to see shrinks with the way you lot treat them.

    Show some respect, your not good enough to be out there, they are, so get behind them, accept the good with the bad and cheer on the lads. All football matches start even, 0-0, and sometimes the supporters can be that extra 1% to tip the balance.

  • Comment number 56.

    I feel a LITTLE sorry for Joe Cole as his versatility has been his downfall over the years.

    He had so much ability as a youngster and still has. I feel he is better on the right wing but most effective in the hole behind the forwards. He is mostly overlooked in this position for club and country due to so called better personnel in both instances.

    His craft and skill is wasted in any team when he is stuck on the left when he is clearly more comfortable on his right foot.

  • Comment number 57.

    The players feel fear according to Terry.

    This is a shame, the most important feeling should be pride and the sense of honour being asked to represent your country at their national sport. This might bring some nerves - but fear is a problem.

  • Comment number 58.

    It was not just that the 3-0 win was unsatisfactory, but do you remember the performance?

    It was awful and took inspiration from Steven Gerrard (I'll await the usual critics!) to break Andorra down.

    And in reality, is it over-burdening England's players with pressure to expect them to rack up a reasonable amount of goals against Andorra?

    I don't think so, but it was the performance that drew justified criticism from the media last time even more than the result.

    Capello was asked whether he would be happy with a 1-0 win when he met the media on Friday, and wisely would not be drawn into any sort of prediction.

  • Comment number 59.

    I still stand by my comments that there needs to be a wholesale change in the suads selected, the players out there every time don't play with pride, or passion, they play with fear, as John Terry suggests. There's the fear of failure, which is a snowball thought really, and once the players start thinking in terms of not winning, or not qualifying then subconsciously they tend to start looking for ways to make it happen.

    Choose younger players, they may not win, but they'll play with no fear and give it everything they've got. Unfortunately nobody in the media, or even in the supporters' ranks, are willing to give any new coach a decent amount of time before jumping on their backs. It's indicative of the "now-now-now" society we live in. If it doesn't happen immediately there's mass hysteria as to why not. It's not only indicative of the society, but also of the media. People will probably guess I'm highly critical of the 24-hour instant media craze, for various reasons discussed in other blogs, but I feel it's true. I'm sure even Terry Venables and Glenn Hoddle weren't pilloried so soon into their careers. People expect instant change, and instant results. What they forget is that International football doesn't work like that without major intervention (and yes, I'm aware I've suggested something that would bring instant change potentially making me as bad as others). Capello's only had a few sessions with the squads he's put together. People also seem to forget that the England coaches are not responsible for training of techniques, but for team building and tactical preparation. Which they happen to be failing at quite regularly.

    Quite simply, if we're not prepared to give Capello time to suss it out, then we don't deserve to have an international football team.

  • Comment number 60.

    Your right Phil, Gerrard carried us through that game. Now thats surprising coming from me isnt it?!

  • Comment number 61.

    All I want to see from England today is a good performance and evidence that they're gelling as a team.

    Good passing, good movement. That, at this stage, even against Andorra, will be progress.

    We've got to start getting the basics right. I can't believe I'm saying that with the quality of players we've got, but that's where England are right now.

  • Comment number 62.

    so far we have seen NO changes, in fact a step backwards in terms of style and confidence in play. a 3-0 win against andorra and everyone will forget
    1. who we are playing
    2. how badly we've played in our last 4 games
    3. how fundamentally a non-leage player has forced himself in through his past status.
    4. how woodgate was dropped for lescott
    5. how a player who has scored 8 goals in 84 games, 45 of which are starts is selected as one of england's finest.
    6. how anyone in the modern game in a role which should be about heart, courage and honour earns ?6.8million a year and yet takes 6 months to learn english.
    7. how the FA have flopped in denying the public a highlights show of this game coming up on national tv
    8. generally how dire this situation is.
    9. how one of the big 4 teams in england fielded 0.06% of its minutes last season to an englishman, and 99.94% to foreigners yet has the arrogance on comment on the national decline.
    10. how crapello has complained about the lack of talent in this country.

  • Comment number 63.

    I have read, with varying degrees of interest, all of the posts here and,even though i may disagree with some, all seem to be valid in some way shape or form. However number 35 from Sammysomerset is truly appalling. How very dare you have a pop at Masterchef!!!

  • Comment number 64.

    MattyGaston, I agree with a lot of your comments but England fans are capable of getting behind their team. Take Euro 96 for example when we were beaten on penalties and when we lost to Brazil in the WC finals.

    All most fans want to see is an England team try their best. If they try and you know they couldn't have done more on the day then I believe you will not hear a chorus of boos.

    I don't believe in booing any team when they are playing the game but sometimes you can understand those fans must feel a lot of frustration and their feelings get the better of them.

    I don't expect us to win the World Cup. If we can get to the quarters and do it positively, I will be content.

    First though we have to try and get out of a tricky qualifying group.

  • Comment number 65.

    designbyvinny, do you have a job or do you just spend all day spammin these blogs? lol

    some of it is rather amusing, such as Walcott's excellent goal record!

  • Comment number 66.

    The problem with our team is that it is pretty much the same players from about 4 years ago and whilst other teams have moved on, we haven't! We have very little pace in the team but in players like Agbonlahor and Young we could rectify the problem. My team would be as follows (in a 4-2-3-1 formation,

    GK - James (until Foster starts playing)

    RB - Richards
    CB - Terry
    CB - Ferdinand
    LB - Cole

    CM - Gerrard
    CM - Barry

    FW - Agbonlahor
    FW - Rooney
    FW - Young

    ST - Crouch

    World Cup and Euro Championship winners i'm sure you all agree!

  • Comment number 67.

    Andorra away was Gerrard's finest moment in the last qualifying campaign. The best bit was when he chucked himself down for a penalty, against a bunch of bankers and policemen. Was this the only occasion he wasn't out of position?

    If only he turned up in the big games....what a joke!

  • Comment number 68.

    I agree with a few comments here that is about time we started blooding the youngsters. Despite what some might say there are some good players coming through.

    England should do what some of the top managers do with their youngsters: if they are not going to play them, at least allow them to travel and mingle with the England seniors and experience the international atmosphere more.

    That way when they do get their chance they will hopefully be more acquainted to the match day atmosphere and pressure.

  • Comment number 69.

    # 67. At 12:29pm on 06 Sep 2008, Kapnag wrote:

    Andorra away was Gerrard's finest moment in the last qualifying campaign. The best bit was when he chucked himself down for a penalty, against a bunch of bankers and policemen. Was this the only occasion he wasn't out of position?

    If only he turned up in the big games....what a joke!


    Yeah, turn up like all the other England players. Hold on, cant think of any - Help!

  • Comment number 70.

    Now I hear all your demands for the old guard to be swept away and youngsters given their chance, so I will throw the floor open to you.

    Who are these promising youngsters? Why should they get their chance? Who should be replaced?

    It doesn't say much for the young brigade that Capello turned to Fulham's 29-year-old Jimmy Bullard when his midfield resources were depleted by the absences of Gerrard, Carrick and Hargreaves..

    This is in no way a criticism of Bullard, but he is not one of the young brigade.

    Fire away.

  • Comment number 71.

    What is wrong with supporters at the moment? Capello has had four games the last of which a lucky draw against a pretty good side, and people are allready calling for his head. If after four games of the EPL you would be calling for the manager of your team to be sacked i really do feel sorry for you... (West Ham Fans!!)

    Let Capello prove himself and please support him until we fail. Booing him or the team doesnt really instill them with the confidence they need to play well does it!

  • Comment number 72.

    Capello has certainly used initial games to test the abilities of the talent available. His judgement of this will be hugely tested against Croatia, and an easy win against Andorra will be the best preparation for such an important game.

    The lack of talent and more so, the lack of REAL competition for places in the team is not a reflection an a man who has been in the job such a short time.

    I am not one to bring club matters into national game discussions, bit in response to 00.26am, it is clear that being a Spurs fan has tainted his judgement to the point that he wants Arsene Wenger to be punished for not having more English players. The fact is, many have come and gone without being able to break into Wenger's team, despite all the opportunities they are given.

    Wenger also seems to be clever enough not to pay the ridiculously inflated fees for english players, most of whom are unproven at the top level. A certain 17 million pound English striker from Spurs almost immediately springs to mind....

  • Comment number 73.

    Yeah, turn up like all the other England players. Hold on, cant think of any - Help!


    can't help there. I guess we'll just put Gerrad on a pedestal and make up a great performance in our imagination. And if we can't do that, we'll just say he's being played out of position

  • Comment number 74.

    Ashley Young should be given a chance, full of energy and creativity. Play Joe Cole on the right, Young on the left on vice-versa.

    Other than that dont really see to many others, dont think Agbonlaghor is ready yet, and Walcott needs to play more reguraly this season which he may well do.

  • Comment number 75.

    Phil, how can you forget that goalscoring machine - 19yo Theo Walcott?

    He is just what we need, someone who can score 14 goals in 97 appearances. Great ready replacement for Owen.

  • Comment number 76.

    Come on give him a break. all you guys do is criticise the guy. let see how it goes then make a opinion. besides he only managed for short period of time. you can't really expect him to change a team that failed to qualify for euros to best team in the world. even best teams in the world took time to build up.

  • Comment number 77.

    I think my thoughts on Owen's exclusion are clear. A mistake - and a potentially fatal one with Croatia coming up.

    He should have at least been in the squad, but I will say this for Capello, he steadfastly maintained the courage of his convictions when facing down some serious questions from the media on the subject on Friday.

    "This is my opinion", he said. Then flashed a smile that was more menace than bonhomie.

    Still doesn't stop me believing Capello's opinion is wrong though.

  • Comment number 78.

    The Villa boys of Agbonlahor and Young to name but two and no I'm not a Villa supporter.

    Huddleston still has promise and Mancienne looks one for the future.

    You only had to look at the U21's to know there is still a chance for us in the future.

    Some may not be ready yet but, like I said, give them a feel for the atmosphere - a taster for if they do make the grade.

  • Comment number 79.

    Come on give him a break. all you guys do is criticise the guy. let see how it goes then make a opinion. besides he only managed for short period of time. you can't really expect him to change a team that failed to qualify for euros to best team in the world. even best teams in the world took time to build up.


    the main complaint seems to be that Capello isn't making enough changes and should bring new faces in. Yet the very same people also complain that he isn't going back to the same old faces. We criticise the manager purely on the basis of who our favourite players are

  • Comment number 80.

    From what we have seen of Defoe and Wacott i have to say that i would much prefer an Owen on crutches playing up front rather than those 2. I am sure Owen would get more goals as well.

  • Comment number 81.

    It is hard to get excited about a match that you are not allowed to watch.

    It is about time the BBC stood up for the ordinary England football supporters and took issue with the Government about their lack of control of the FA who should no longer be aloud to run football in this country. The FA sold our trust in them to an Irish company that cannot guarantee the delivery of pictures, as was proven last season (Arsenal ManU games lost in the ether).

    Come on BBC do your job.

  • Comment number 82.

    I think at international level its very difficult to play with 4-4-2 and be successful unless you are playing lower ranked teams like andorra. the thing at that level the pace of the game is slower than the league games. so possession of the ball and domination in midfield is the key in which case you need a 4-3-3/ 4-5-1 but with players from midfield willing to join the attacking play when required. Graham Taylor often mentions this on 5live and he's spot on u watch croatia, france, portugal, holland they all play three in the middle with 1 play maker who is always available to recieve the ball like scholes does for man utd and two other midfielders that are supporting both the back four n attackers also you need two pacey wingers that are gd dribblers and can beat men for example portugal have ronaldo, simao, nani etc. i dont think beckham can do that for me its has to be joe cole n some one else thats pacey as wel on the other side. A striker that has gd movement off the ball and dont stay static and makes intelligent runs in behind. (may be darren bent in a years time)

  • Comment number 83.

    How about this for a revolutionary idea....

    Change the England set up to mirror that of Ebsfleet Utd, where the fans vote on all the decisions, what formation to play, who plays in what position etc. That way if it all goes pear shaped the fans would be to blame.

  • Comment number 84.

    Even though he's not one of the young brigade, I still applaud the inclusion of Bullard. His infectious footballing enthusiasm is just what England needs. No ego, no big personality, just a down to earth lad who loves the game of football. I still remember the videotape of when he was playing for wigan against Everton and he was looking at Duncan Ferguson with that scared sort of half-smile on his face! Cracks me up every time. We need a team of Jimmy Bullards really, 11 lads who love football.

  • Comment number 85.

    Chizzleface (#59), I agree wholeheartedly with you sentiment about the consequences of playing younger players.

    However, I don't think the English footballing media or most of the fans are ready to see an England team consistently failing to win games while developing young players ... that is, after all, what the U21s are for.

  • Comment number 86.


    Great idea, or hire mike basset

  • Comment number 87.

    i am not criticising capello in anyway but thats how international teams and most big club teams lineup as now adays so i ll be interested to see how england lineup personally i think he should play same team n same system even if its 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 which may sound defensive against a 4-4-2 coz that ll give them a continueity coz they are not chopping and changing all the time after all its all about prepration for croatia game.
    like i said in 1 of my earlier comments movement off the ball is key(man u , arsenal, chelsea ) all do that pass and move rather than pass and admire the pass lol. which is what england players do sometimes.

  • Comment number 88.

    If anything sums up why England get the football team we deserver it's redthemadsheep2001's comment:

    6. how anyone in the modern game in a role which should be about heart, courage and honour earns ?6.8million a year and yet takes 6 months to learn english

    I am left speechless, in whatever language of the 2 other languages I have managed to learn over the past 10 years.

    Everything I have seen from Capello confirms what was known when he was appointed. He is and has been one of the top club managers in world football in the last 20 years.

    Everything that comes out of England's qualifying campaign and subsequent World Cup with confirm what we fans (and Capello is discovering) already know now. You can't turn lead into gold. England have no 'world class players', few 'international class' players and most damningly to the players reputation an at best 'average' England team which is no better or indeed worse than any side since Euro '96.
    This may be hard to accept and having paid good money to attend the last 3 World Cups and Euro '94 I have accepted it, and you know what you get used it and enjoy football better. I and my friends don't watch England, because after Euro 94 we decided 'wake us up when England team actually get to the semi-final of a tournament' because otherwise it's same old story of failure. Most damningly with exactly the same cast of players time and time again being allowed to fail. It's an old boys club where even Capello gets leaned on to pick certain players because the FA/sponsors etc prefer them.
    I hope England win the next two games and qualify but until they get the semi-final of an tournament at least the England team are irrelevant to world football, outside of this country. Sad but true!

  • Comment number 89.

    The England team these days have so much pressure on them and its really unfair on the younger players expected to come in and change the whole squad. The older players have had the confidence drained out of them due to the media and fans as the fans expect to win everything and if we don't its a failure and its the managers fault. We have to be a little more realistic and ease of the players a bit, allow them to be themselves and the confidence will be built within a short space of time, so lets just back off and let them get on with it.

  • Comment number 90.

    dcacooper - #85

    Good point, but surely this is what the friendly games should be for, instead of just picking the teams that have been picked for them? Yes, they include a few fringe players, but I'd rather see a full squad of untested players in the friendlies, just to see how they'd get on. It would have the added bonus of giving all the players who pretty much expect their places in the squad a kick up the rear end, and make them actually have to play for their places.

    I also disagree with Capello's choice of captain, Terry is the wrong person for the job. He never looks the part, and whenever I look at him I see a face with no real leadership whatsoever. There doesn't seem to be any real candidate for dead-cert captain in the England ranks. Even Rio isn't really ready for the job just yet. They should just give it to David James for the time being and see what happens. I bet even Ben Foster would be a better captain than Terry!

  • Comment number 91. was Euro 96 by the way ;-)

  • Comment number 92.

    Gerrard should be captain.
    Owen should be a guarantee started.
    England should annihilate Andorra, and beat Croatia.

  • Comment number 93.

    Ben Foster would be a better captain than John Terry? I've heard some good ones on here but that's one of the best...presumably a Scot?

    On a more serious point, it will be interesting to see how Foster plays when he gets his chance at Manchester United because Sir Alex Ferguson rates him as one of the outstanding goalkeeping prospects.

  • Comment number 94.

    Actually no, Phil, I'm a Bury man born and bred.

    That was just a tongue in cheek way of saying I think Terry isn't the best choice of captain. On the Ben Foster for England subject, we won't be seeing him in an England shirt for a good few years. At least I hope not, anyway, he needs to gain as much experience as he can at club level before we even think of giving him an England shirt. That's another one of my bugbears about England selections...a player can have one decent game and then all of a sudden the media start pushing him forward for England selection. All too often the player then doesn't do all that well in one game, and then never plays for his country again. Players should be picked based on consistency of form, not just because they've had one or two really good games in the weeks leading up to squads (Andy Johnson, James Beattie, Andrew Cole, Scott Carson [although to be fair Carson was playing pretty damned well all season for Villa before his horror game], Emile Heskey anyone?). I suppose at least Capello's wise enough to avoid the "it's not going well, stick Peter Crouch on and lump it up to him" approach. At least I hope he is!

  • Comment number 95.

    Peter Crouch has a much better goal record than one Mr. Rooney

  • Comment number 96.

    Some fair points but how many languages do you speak and how long did you take to learn them?

  • Comment number 97.

    To Gerrard8LFC

    Gerrard should not be captain as he should not even be in the team. He shows as much passion, desire and performance for England as his mate Carragher did. He has been a consistent let down for England the way John Barnes was before him

    Owen should be a guarantee start - Really whether he is fit, playing well, scoring goals, can form a partnership with Rooney or other - he should start in your opinion.
    Players should be picked on form, fitness and ability to fit into team pattern - not on reputation.
    Personally would have had him in squad and give him 20 mins tonight to see if he is fit.

  • Comment number 98.


    richards woodgate rio cole


    bentley gerrard cole



    subs: young, walcott, defoe, terry, lescott, foster, hargreaves

    terry shouldnt be in the starting eleven let alone be captain. lampard really doesn't care, and half the players hate playing for england anyway. this should be the new line up, at least they want to play for their country and they are the only ones to actually try their hardest.

  • Comment number 99.


    First of all there has not been any shining lights for England over the past few years, there have been a few decent performances here and there, but no1 consistently being on top form.

    Gerrard even though he has not always been at his LFC best for England, has carried us through games such as vs Trinidad in the WC and vs Andorra in the Euro Quals. To say that he should not be in the squad and does not show any passion is frankly an insult.

    As for Carragher, to be honest he is one of the top 3 CB in England and imo he should have played in front of Terry. After being constantly overlooked and being played behind players such as King and Woodgate, and out of position it is not surprising that he did not rank England as highly as Liverpool.

    With regards to Owen, he has scored more than the other strikers in the squad have combined and in less games.

    Rooney does not score enough goals.
    Defoe is not good enough.
    Heskey is only good for Owen.
    Walcot is not a goal scorer.

    But Owen is not "match fit " i hear you say. Look at his record for NUFC, most of the time he has been recovering from injuries and has still manger 19 in 45 games.

    I would not mind Owen being dropped if there was someone else breaking the door down with a great goal scoring record then fine, but there isn't.

  • Comment number 100.

    Gerrard even though he has not always been at his LFC best for England, has carried us through games such as vs Trinidad in the WC and vs Andorra in the Euro Quals. To say that he should not be in the squad and does not show any passion is frankly an insult.


    hahahaha, REAL heavyweights of international football!

    Face it, Gerrard is not all that good. Putting players on a pedestal make them believe they've already arrived and have nothing left to prove.


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