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Is Capello feeling the strain?

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Phil McNulty | 16:01 UK time, Wednesday, 9 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Rustenburg

Fabio Capello's volcanic eruption at England's Rustenburg base has prompted the first whispers that he is feeling the pressure of a World Cup campaign.

Taking his cue from Vesuvius, the England coach gave a glimpse of the fires bubbling beneath the surface in a brief, but explosive, confrontation with photographers in the South African sunshine.

The Italian rarely moves around the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus at anything other than a brisk and businesslike march, so there was no indication of the sound and fury to come as he made his way from the main building to consult with his backroom team.

Striding towards England's perfectly manicured training pitch and seeing lenses pointed towards rooms inside the complex, the side of Capello normally reserved for his players was exposed.

Making no attempt to disguise his anger, he shouted: "Why you take photos of the dressing room. Why? Why? Why you take photos of the dressing room? No excuses."

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The incident lasted less than a minute but instantly became the main talking point of the day - complete with a debate about whether his outburst was a very public sign of the personal strain he is suffering beneath the usually strictly controlled exterior.

Capello will be feeling pressure - he is about to manage England at a World Cup after all - but those looking for cracks in his iron mask will be wasting their time. He is one of the most experienced and respected figures in world football, so you suspect he simply does not do cracking up.

I am told there is plenty of tension in the England camp, but only the sort that comes from the adrenalin and anticipation that builds up in the days leading up to a game of the magnitude of Saturday's meeting with the United States in Rustenburg.

Capello and his players have been together for more than three weeks, a long lead into a major tournament. The feeling is that they just want to get started - and the coach probably feels exactly the same.

It is believed there was some discontent because England's players were followed by the media on their safari on Tuesday, but it was a public place after all and closing down an entire game reserve for their benefit was never going to be an option.

England's training session on Thursday will be behind closed doors in keeping with Fifa guidelines, not as any sort of punishment for the media but as part of a pre-arranged programme. So Capello will have the chance to put the final touches to his plans away from prying eyes.

The angry exchange was arguably of more interest because it gave, at least for a moment, an insight into Capello's combustible temperament when everything is not to his liking.

It was in evidence on England's first day of work in South Africa when Capello barked angrily in Italian at a member of his backroom staff for the crime of placing a plastic disc a few feet away from its intended target.

Capello is a perfectionist - and now we can imagine a little more clearly how he might react in the privacy of a dressing room when England's players fail to deliver to his exacting standards.

But cracking up? This takes quite a leap of the imagination for a man who has managed in some of the most pressurised environments in world football - and flourished, too.

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The hours and days before the start of a World Cup are those when a release of tension is needed most - and Capello certainly got a few things off his chest here.

As the countdown to the big kick-off continues, with the whole of South Africa waiting for the opening ceremony and the chance to see their heroes in action, Capello still has plenty of issues to occupy his mind.

Chief among them is who will be England's goalkeeper against the US.

For a country blessed with past greatness in this position, England are in the worrying plight of having no undisputed first choice goalkeeper. Not ideal for any international games, let alone a World Cup.

Capello has taken to casting his gaze over David James, Robert Green and Joe Hart on a separate pitch away from the main body of the squad in the last couple of days, watching for the vital signs that will make the difference when it comes to selection. It is an indication of the importance of this decision.

It is understood James is the preferred choice of his England colleagues, who believe his experience, presence and communication skills make him the best option. The downside for James is lingering fears about a knee injury and his habit of making the occasional expensive error.

West Ham's Green has yet to develop the stature of an international goalkeeper, while Hart was the best Englishman in his position in the Premier League last season.

Hart is likely to be groomed for the number one spot after the World Cup, but for now his inexperience may count against him.

Like the photographers, he caught the rough edge of Capello's tongue on Monday when England played a warm-up game against the Platinum Stars.

Hart was given a chance behind what is likely to be England's defence for their first game only to frustrate Capello with his poor distribution. However, Hart has, by all accounts, been outstanding in training, which may impact on Capello's calculations.

The problem for Capello is that none of the choices will be made with complete confidence - and if he gets it wrong the consequences could be wide-ranging.

If James can convince Capello he is fit for selection, he is likely to get the nod. Capello has always stated he knows who he would pick if everyone was in good condition, but fitness is the major question mark over James.

England do not have the riches available to teams such as Spain, who have Pepe Reina and Victor Valdes as back-up to the outstanding Iker Casillas.

This is a major headache for Capello - and one that would have been at the forefront of his thinking in the moments before he let fly on Thursday.

But cracking up? Not Capello.

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Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    Cracking up? Hardly, the photographers have been given too much freedom around the team and Capello probably now thinks of it as intrusion.... hardly fair to say cracking up

  • Comment number 3.

    Fabio Capello is a tough guy. Team England is versatile. Best of luck to Steven Gerrard and his boys.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 4.

    Nothing wrong with a bit of an explosion, shows his passion, better by far than being accused of being a wally with a brolly!

  • Comment number 5.

    How can he possibly be tense? There is no pressure on him after all because nobody is expecting him to win the tournament and he has a contract extension irrespective of the performance.

  • Comment number 6.

    He's not cracking up - he's used to working under severe pressure at Real Madrid, Juventus, Milan, etc. I think it's a positive sign - a sense that the camp contains some healthy tension and is chomping at the bit (to use some horseracing parlance) to get started.

    Chomping at the bit myself here - less than 48 hours until the big kick off...

  • Comment number 7.

    robert green is a solid but average goalkeeper, I would opt for James.

  • Comment number 8.

    Complete non-story. Good on you Fabio.

    If I was exercising or getting a massage inside a hotel and someone was taking snaps with a telephoto lens I'd have them arrested.

    The press are the cockroaches of society - nobody likes them, nobody can figure out a decent reason for them... but no doubt they'd still be there taking pictures after nuclear holocaust.

  • Comment number 9.

    He hardly reacted at all? Much ado about nothing...

  • Comment number 10.

    Maybe the debate should be about how close the reporters are getting to the england camp. Outside of your media bubble, that will be the talking point.

  • Comment number 11.

    Great Blog Phil!!

    I agree entirely with the comments made about Capello's temprement. Given the time and situation, I am a little surprised that he didn't actually 'explode' more than he did.

    In addition, the knock on effect of this will only help the England players. It'll be a welcome break for the likes of Joe Cole, who needs to focus on preparations for the World Cup rather than read about his future club career in the press.

    Good luck England, we expect the best but that is only because we are the best !!


  • Comment number 12.

    I'm with Mr Capello on this one. We're set to see enough of these overpaid prancing prima donnas over the next month without seeing them fixing their expensive buffants.

  • Comment number 13.

    goalkeeping headache, yes, problem, no, we have three premiership goalkeepers who all excelled last season, the only doubts are with james, his injuries and his mistakes. Hart would walk into any squad in the world and should start in my opinion

    "West Ham's Green has yet to develop the stature of an international goalkeeper" what on earth is that supposed to mean??

    Hart is world class if a little quiet

    James has obvious experience but there are worries about injuries and mistakes

    Green is all round very good keeper

  • Comment number 14.

    What a load of hot air!

    I think I care more about my builder's most recent sandwich filling.

  • Comment number 15.

    Let him get on with his job. If it were photographers sticking lenses in the changing rooms at a local sports centre this would be an altogether more unsavoury story

  • Comment number 16.

    can't wait til the action begins, maybe then we can expect some more intersting blog topics!

  • Comment number 17.

    Capello is right to lay into the media, as always they've completely undermined the team's preparations, starting way back with the John Terry saga. Always, always, always the media spout this patriotism with one side of their faces and with the other side do everything they can to derail our campaigns, every game we don't win 6-0 is 'unconvincing' (what a prolific buzz word that has become in the last month), last week Capello was 'set to walk' and now he's 'feeling the pressure'. If the media truly wants England to be successful they'd pack their bags for a while, stop following the players everywhere, stop stirring up trouble where there is none, stop planting the seeds of doubt into the players' and fans' minds, stop elevating players to a level and then tearing them down.

    Also, on the goalkeeping front, Casillas hasn't been the same keeper since Barca put 6 past him last season, after that he went on to concede 3 goals in each of the final 4/5 games of the season, and he has committed some comedy errors that would make even David James look down in pity. Casillas is a good keeper, no doubt, but he isn't the hero that everyone makes him out to be, he isn't even the best in Spain right now, never mind the world, and he is becoming increasingly error prone - Add to that he's got Puyol playing in front of him and two very inconsistent full-backs, and I wouldn't rule out any comedy moments from Spain's back five.

  • Comment number 18.

    Wow first Wayne loses it and now Fabio..must be another real slow news day!!!

  • Comment number 19.


    The Gutter press in Britain - the Sun, the Daily Mail- have rubbished England, the UK, Europe and everything good for years!

    They are an utter and total disgrace.

    More people should have a pop at them like Capello.

    Good for him!!!

  • Comment number 20.

    He's got a point you know. 99.9% of people can do without a photo of England players walking out of the changing rooms. They're more interested in seeing them walk onto the pitch in Rustenberg.

    The Press acting like a mother-in-law before the wedding. Won't go with the flow, constantly nitpicking and fussing about inanities. Go with the flow. The girl agreed to marry the boy. And it's happening on Saturday.

    Be there or be square.

    But go and watch elephants in the meanwhile.

  • Comment number 21.

    Great to see Capello taking control, this is the type of coach England needs with their media circus. Too many speculations about it, he didn't loose the plot and he is not feeling the pressure, he is simply showing "who's the boss" and it's great to see.

  • Comment number 22.

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

  • Comment number 23.

    "Making no attempt to disguise his anger, he shouted: "Why you take photos of the dressing room. Why? Why? Why you take photos of the dressing room? No excuses.""

    Seens a bit pathetic to me - he does know what a journo is, right?

  • Comment number 24.

    A country blessed with past greatness in goalkeepers? Don't make me laugh.

  • Comment number 25.

    I'm glad he's let off a bit of steam. 'bout time too. The man's being running at hot since his ill fated index took it's first and mercifully short breath.
    His angst has been transferred to the squad in the past friendlies. He didn't seem to get annoyed that none of the cartel helped the outsiders along against japan or mexico.
    I expect England to look pretty much the same against the US I'm afraid unless the tension is controlled. But letting off now and again is good for you. Let's hope Fab is getting the balance of him and the team right.

  • Comment number 26.

    Yeah. Because that really looks like an outburst, Phil.
    Why don't you report real news, rather than picking apart England's manager for getting frustrated at the press being obsessed with the England squad's every move. If that's an outburst, I don't know what isn't, frankly.

  • Comment number 27.

    Capello is the single reason why we have our best chance of winning the world cup since Italia '90. Best of luck boys and if anyone is visiting the world cup in Cape Town I have put together a brief guide of what there is to see and do in the 'mother city':

  • Comment number 28.

    Berlusconi described Capello as not good at dialogue.... he shares that one with a few other great leaders of men - Cloughie, George Patton, Ghengis Kand andour very own Henry V spring to mind ... A little rough around the edges, but winners all the same(good old Henry slaughtered all his prisoners the day af - neve a good idea on the eve ter Agincourt). Poor old paps chessed off Fabio's troops on the eve of battle - not a good idea. Focussed rage is what we need - look at the footage of Gerard in the tunnel at Istanbul. For Argenmtina it may be a party, but for England its a war. National character and all that. This time we might really mean business, thank the good Lord.

  • Comment number 29.

    The only people it will surprise is the media themselves. They've been an embarressment for as many World Cups as I can remember.
    Especially the tabloids who seem hell bent on stirring as much trouble up for players as possible before a tournament.
    Fans I'm sure will be 100% behind Capello !

  • Comment number 30.

    Slow news day? What a ridiculous non blog this is. So Capello is annoyed about photographers sticking their telephoto lenses into the changing room windows. He has every right to be. Hardly cracking up. He only seemed mildly peeved. Can't see what all the fuss is about on the keepers either. I'd play Hart, he seems capable enough. I'm more worried about the lack of real striking options. If anything happens to Rooney we are stuffed.

  • Comment number 31.

    I thought he was pretty controlled, If I had had to deal with the press who were doing that (and I dont buy into the Mirrors completely innocent photographer) I would have been far more enraged.

    Give the players their privacy and let Capello deal with matters the way he see's fit.

  • Comment number 32.

    To those who say it's no story, you're right but you're here reading about it so it's written. For those who complain about England being distracted by journo's writing about them then don't read the stories. They write it because you read it.

    All the big teams will have the press following them around, no different to England so it can't be used as an excuse. They get it at club level so they should be used to it.

    Maybe Capello was making a point directed at his players that he will stand up for them if he feels they are being intruded upon. Could be a bonding thing. Who knows? Who cares! It'll be forgotten about tomorrow. Come on England!!

  • Comment number 33.

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

  • Comment number 34.

    Volcanic eruption? Sound and Fury? Explosive confrontation?

    If you are going to write such ridculous hyperbole, can i suggest not putting a video of the incident below, in which Capello seems to object in a raised voice (arguably not even shouting) to reporters focusing on the medical room.

    Besides the fact that it smacks of car crash journalism, it's also potentially encroaching on personal medical information, which is hardly a decent way to act.

    So if you insist upon writing mindless fluff like this, please have the decency to use words that are representative of what actually happened, rather than equating 'a bit pissed off' with 'volcanic shouting explosive fury.' Have some standards please.

    Oh and bravo on not taking an honest look at whether the journo's were in the wrong, and provoked Capellos reaction by their irresponsible actions. Much more fun to just focus on and exaggerate Capellos reaction.

    This sort of parasitic journalism isn't doing anyone a service, and yet you seem to be whole heartedly endorsing it.

  • Comment number 35.

    To RockingTheJoint...first things first. I will defend the media inevitably, and they do not call up for conferences every hour. They are pre-arranged FA press briefings.

    As for asking players club questions - would anyone seriously expect the media not to ask Joe Cole about his club situation on the day his Chelsea career ended? I attended two Joe Cole press conferences today and both television journalists and the written press respected his wishes when he said he would speak in detail about it another day.

    As I said, I am sure Capello is feeling the pressure, he would not be human if he didn't, but I do not think it is affecting his state of mind at all. He has thrived in this sort of hothouse atmosphere before at places like Real Madrid, Roma and Juventus.

    Let me know your thoughts on England's build-up, the goalkeeper situation and the US game - and of course Fabio's spat today.

  • Comment number 36.

    Oh my god seriously any tiny event that surrounds the world cup gets blown completely out of proportion. Rooney gets a Yellow card and its the main talking point of the day, Capello has a go at some photographers and theres talk about him cracking. Theres far too much hype about this world cup and in particular England

  • Comment number 37.

    over the top just slightly? I notice you have changed the heading from the dramatic "cracking up" to "showing the strain." This confirms for me that you've realised you're reaction was over the top and that you've wasted 40 mins of your life phil writing this tosh!

    "Volcanic Eruption" - seriously? have the bbc edited the video because what i've just watched is nothing like "vesuvius" and more like a nothing story.

    I am a big fan Phil, just stick to stories that mean something please.
    The one good thing about the media talking about the manager is that they're not talking about the players, maybe a ploy that crossed Fabio's mind?

  • Comment number 38.

    So, a non-story based upon a non-story. Where is the link to another article suggesting that Capello is cracking up in the first place?

    Who has suggested this... or are you just suggesting this so that you can then argue otherwise and have something to blog about?

    It was pointless enough that the BBC chose to publish the non-story in the first place, as a story in its own right.

    It must be a slow day at BBC Towers.

  • Comment number 39.

    I completely sympathise with capello here. why do the media think it appropriate to follow the england team absolutely everywhere they go. Even joe cole admitted it was frustrating having the press follow them on their visit to a safari park on their day off. Capello is not 'cracking' he is merely expressing his and the vast majority of the nation's opinion...leave the england team alone!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    every major tournament I watch you lot do the same thing, firstly attempt to annihilate your team and then go after the manager

    and you lot are both the fans and media

    you will never be able to truly support your team as you have probably forgotten what true support is about

  • Comment number 41.

    Phil - thanks for the update from the England camp. I have a suggestion for future blogs on 'quiet' days.

    Once the tournament kicks off and the real news and interviews come thick and fast, why not collect a bunch of the most humorous comments and chants? You could call it 'Quotes of the Week' or something like that.

    Just a thought.

  • Comment number 42.

    The press ruined it for the fans and themselves years ago with the way they go about things . Remember when the press would travel to a match on the same bus as the team ? and also actually knew the players and talked with them regulary . Those days are long gone and will never happen again thanks to the press. Fair play to capello. Not all the press obviously just the one's from the trash newspapers.

  • Comment number 43.

    I'm sorry Phil, I usually enjoy your posts but why on earth do the media do this? I genuinely want to know. The journalists who reported the Lord Triesman affair, the photographers who follow players everywhere taking pictures of them in private and now this story.

    I'd really like to know why you think stories like this are any good to anyone or of any interest. Why do photographers need to point cameras into private areas to get pictures of the players. I don't blame Fabio, it's an invasion of privacy and more importantly, it's pointless. If you're gonna write a story about a manager doing a bad job the week before the world cup, write about Maradona having his team kicking balls at each other! Fabio is the best chance we've had since 1990 so don't try and ruin it.

  • Comment number 44.

    First of all, well done. At last, a sensible and well constructed post. As the mediators will apprise you (they've stricken my previous responses), I've not been a fan but we may be on common ground here.
    Personally, given the media hysteria regarding Rooney's fairly typical and worryingly irresponsible lapse into passion during Monday's game, I feel that Mr. Capello was simply demonstrating how to release passion in a controlled and responsible manner. My bet is that the players were advised of this exercise before he confronted the media. He just wanted to demonstrate how it should be done. Referees should be confronted in the same way. No emotion. No bad language. Just registration of a complaint and dissatisfaction at the performance.
    In my humble view, it was a perfect demonstration of media handling and how easily the media are manipulated, ie he gives a display of simulated anger and the media respond by asking if he is too stressed. So predictable. The message to Rooney and all of the squad is to suppress anger (or passion if you want to call it that). A second and equally important benefit is that media pressure is now focussed upon him and not his players and I just know that this was an added factor in his thoughts. Brilliant!
    It's not often that in one action a person gets to solve two annoying problems (in other words, kill two birds with one stone)!
    Simply stated, the media is simple to control when your life has focus upon your target. This exercise was nothing more than a demonstration of how simple the media is and how easily it is controlled. QED (and I'll wager that no more than 50% of people working in the media understand what QED means).
    For me, Mr. Capello will do, very well thank you very much. And he is in absolute control. We may not win the World Cup but we will achieve the very best that is possible. What more can a manager do?

  • Comment number 45.

    This is a non story to be honest. He didn't even react angrily, even though he looked miffed. Doesn't deserve a whole article dedicated to stating the obvious fact that stress and tension builds up for a man in his position.

  • Comment number 46.

    You're all such blockheads. This was done deliberately for the sake of the team. It's all part of the process of getting the players psyched for battle. He's trying to build a siege mentality and this was purely a gambit in that strategy. By attacking anyone whom he feels can be construed as "intruding" on the England team, he's marking his territory with his scent. He's drawing a battle line and hoping the players will pick up on this and take it on to the pitch.

  • Comment number 47.

    Is this even news? I dont get it. You are paid to go and cover a world cup with countless potential stories and articles and a 50 second Capello rant at some over intrusive photographers is the best on offer?

    Surely if ever there was a genuine use for something like twitter then a nothing incident like this might qualify for it, but a whole article? And people wonder why the media over here have such a bad rep!

    As usual this smacks of the media's need to create a panic or something out of nothing. The Capello index first, now this - what will it be tomo? Some lucky photographer gets a photo of Capello yelling at the hotel staff for mixing up his breakfast?

  • Comment number 48.

    Phil please stop injecting negativity into the england campaign with rooney and now this, the same thing that journalists do in every world cup to throw the players off! Lets just get behind the team and focus on the positives please. Thanks

  • Comment number 49.

    Haha laughable. He is in complete control.

  • Comment number 50.

    following the coverage on a world cup on a daily basis has really made me realise WHAT IDIOTS THE MEDIA ARE. You could really make a good case for them having a significant negative impact on the england team with their constant NON-STORIES and following of the team. And unsuprisingly the media don't seem to be focusing on what they actually did to cause the outburst, in fact it seems that they may have been photographing the players in their dressing room, hence the outburst was entirely valid. STOP TRYING TO MAKE A DEAL OUT OF NOTHING. Although I guess it's all our own faults, because we keep going back to read the tripe that they are producing.

  • Comment number 51.

    We need to stop with all the negativity and get behind this England team as it's our best, and probably last chance of winning the World Cup. It's wide open as there are no clear favourites. England are probably the 3rd best team there, and have in Rooney the best forward in football at the moment. Messi has more trickery and flair, but I would still rather have Rooney. We will beat Spain 2-1 in the Final. We won't win it in style and it will not be pleasing on the eye, but we'll win it.
    Capello won't be feeling the pressure as he earns £6m a year and has pretyt much been told his job is safe regardless what happens. He would feel the pressure if the FA said, you will have to pay us £6M a year and will be out of a job if we don't win. THAT would be pressure, but a millionaire Italian managing a country he doesn't hail from won't be feeling any pressure at all. He may well be getting irritated at the possibility of his players being distracted, but he himself won't be ruffled in the slightest.

  • Comment number 52.

    Further to my last, I believe that Capello will go with Rob Green against the USA. I am sure that there is a ring of truth to reports that the players would prefer to have David James there, but he has been carrying niggling injuries and Green has been the starting keeper in the most recent matches of any worth. I would love to see Hart given the chance, but it would seem that Capello, like so many England managers before him will go with age/experience over ability.

  • Comment number 53.

    If that was a volcanic eruption I'd fear for the lives of the press when Capello ACTUALLY loses it...

    I have nothing but disdain for this story.

    England, again a circus for the whole world to laugh at and thanks 100% to our media. I usually think your blogs are OK, Phil, but the lead up to the world cup has seen some seriously tatty faire thrown out for sensationalism.

  • Comment number 54.

    McNulty.....are you bored? Unable to think up any stories?

    This is such a non story that I am embarrassed to even comment on it!

    Why don't you give them a chance before going on the attack. I am sure you are rubbing your hands with excitement (as ever) hoping the team will fail so you can annoy everyone even more by writing ill informed editorials on how it all went wrong because McNulty is an expert. Pathetic.

    Why can you not accept that people do not like journalists and can understandably get angry with you and your crass and intrusive behaviour?

    That is the reason he got annoyed - not because there is tension in the England Camp.

  • Comment number 55.

    Volcanic eruption? feeling the strain? have the media not got anything better to do with their time than be disruptive to the squad?

  • Comment number 56.

    This is a complete non-story. What a waste of a blog.

  • Comment number 57.

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

  • Comment number 58.

    My respect for Capello Trippled today.

    The guy is a true Englishman at heart. How many people does he speak for when he berrated the media? I don't care what Englands training, medical, bathroom or any other room looks like, I don't care about Maradonas toilet (despite some of the papers putting in full pages about it) I don't care if capello yells at his staff for putting a marker out of place (oh and by the way Phil, that marker may have been important, if for example it represented a goal post putting it "a few feet out" could be rather embarresing!) In fact I don't care about 90% of what the sports journalists have been filling the air waves, tv and internet with for the last 10 days, most of it is utter garbage designed to show their bosses they are doing somthing worthy of the massive hotel bills they are racking up! The BBC for example has at least one guy checked in for 42 days. FOURTY TWO! In a recession! And is it only me who thinks that the BBC has more journalists than there are teams?

    Capello told the media a few truths today, of course many of them will now say he's cracking up, it's their way of getting back at him.

    And some phil may say that an article about how he isn't is just as bad as one about how he is.

  • Comment number 59.

    From the perspective of an American-Englishman, the English build-up to the US game is, frankly, lame.

    The US build-up included a match against Australia, played (and won) locally in South Africa.

    The English build-up included a match for Wayne Rooney to practice getting angry (which doesn't take much practice does it?).

    Meanwhile, the press (does that include the BBC?) gets compared to cockroaches by post #7, with some justification, I would say.

    Yet my gentle humour regarding Mr McNulty's volcano analogies (#22) is referred for "consideration". Yea!! That's gotta' be an upgrade from "moderation"!

  • Comment number 60.

    Oh and on the players wanting James, I saw that attributed to Terry in most of the papers, which, if true, begs the question of when He's going to realise

    a - he's not the captain
    b - That unlike under Grant at Chelsea the players don't pick the team.

    Terry is way to big for his boots, if there is not good enough communication from Hart/Green then by all means tell the manager, but you don't say someone else should play instead. Capello can then decided to either

    a - Tell the goalie to shout louder
    b - Pick someone else

    It's Capellos decision and it's about time Terry realised that England is bigger than his ego!

  • Comment number 61.

    Crackin' blog Phil!!! Spot on! Fabio is cracking!!!!
    Just watched the incident. He just lost it!!

    Surley he should do the right thing and step down. As of now!!
    What are the FA playing at? They should fire him with immediate effect!!

    The media caused Hoddle's dismissal when they set him up all them years ago.

    The media set up Sven with an arab fella, but he got away with it though. But good effort.

    And now the media is spinning this story and maybe, just maybe, Fabio wiil get the chop 2 days before the world cup starts!! What a story that would be!!!!

    Imagine how many papers would be sold???
    Imagine the interviews!!
    Imagine the viewing figures!!
    Imagine the number of bloggers!!!
    Imagine a Knighthood!!

    Sir Phil McNulty.
    You could wright a book!

    Keep spinning Phil, keep spinning!!

    Joe Hart should start for England and on Saturday,
    England 1-0 USA

  • Comment number 62.

    Perfect miss direction by Fabio.

    Good luck with the tournament Joe Cole. Hope to see you finding some form over the coming weeks and make sure you blast in a crisp volley from 25yds out like the one against Sweden in 2006.


  • Comment number 63.

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  • Comment number 64.

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  • Comment number 65.

    Pre-moderation means censorship. The truth hurts, eh McNulty?

  • Comment number 66.

    Totally agree with the first post. Can't the media come up with other news. Seriously, Capello has been in more pressurised positions or at least similar. And as for Rooney, the minute he loses that edge the media will be all over him. I'm sure Capello has reminded him that 11 players are better than 10. That edge is everything about him. Relax and just let him play! And lets not talk about discontent in the squad = stirring. Just let them play!

  • Comment number 67.

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

  • Comment number 68.

    It strikes me as suprising that the media are wondering if Fabio is cracking up under pressure.

    It seems obvious that he does not want cameras peering through windows into the dressing room. Whoever was on the end of his blast thoroughly deserved it. I cannot believe the cheak that you media then try and twist it round to Capello is feeling the strain. I cannot believe you are paid money to analyse this.

  • Comment number 69.

    McNulty out. Now.

  • Comment number 70.

    Unfortunately, for too long now some of the England players have been able to get whatever they what whenever they want. John Terry strikes me as being the sort of person who wants what he wants when he wants it. It wouldn't surprise me at all if he has said that he wants James in goal. No doubt James is a mate of his, though that would fly in the face of James' apparent intellect were he to choose a mate of the ilk of Terry.

    Terry needs to focus on his own game and regaining his form, not worrying about helping the handsomely paid manager do his job.

  • Comment number 71.

    volcanic eruption??????? that was hardly a volcanic eruption! He is just feeling the pressure slightly.... of which is surely natural if you were England manager...

    Bring it home Stevie G

  • Comment number 72.

    I agree with lots of the comments on here. The press, who we know will do anything for a story, love to create the downfall of anything or anyone popular. And when this happens, for example Capello losing his temper or Rooney swears shock horror, they jump on this to try and show a weakness in the players and staff.

    They go on so much about how we need to have faith, confidence and belief in the team and the manager etc, when really, the only people who don't, are them.

    They will blame anyone and everyone apart from the people who actually have a negative affect on everything-the press themselves.

  • Comment number 73.

    I'm defending Phil McNulty. Criticisms on here are unfounded and out of place. Of course Lord Treisman should have been exposed, and the 2018 bid is better for it now that he is out of the way. Why blame the press for this man's wrong-doings as some people have? Of course it is newsworthy when Capello screams at photographers.

    To 'John' number 13. Green will be a total liability if he plays. He had a disasterous season for West Ham and was to blame for a considerable percentage of the goals they conceded because of his TOTAL reluctance to command his 6 yards box, exert his authority at corners and free kicks and generally stand rooted to his line when he should have been out there grabbing the ball. He seems too afraid to move of his line. Agianst Mexico much was said because he blocked two goal attempts, but few journalists mentioned his inability to take the ball when it was crossed into the box and the confusion which reigned at every free kick and corner as no-one seemed to know whether Green was coming for the ball or not. He also fumbled a couple of shots which came straight at him. Hart is far and away the more reliable and is not afraid to advance of his line and shout instructions to his defenders when he does so. England will simply not survive for long if Green plays in goal, mark my words!

  • Comment number 74.

    The English media are the enemy of the English football team.

    It is clear that Capello's slight disapproval of the media trying to sneak photos of the England dressing rooms (since it crossed a line for him) has shaken McNulty and his media crew. To get back at him, they first say he is 'cracking up' but then tone it down by saying 'showing strain'. This is ultimately laying the foundations, along with other articles about Rooney, Heskey and key players' private lives (that is most definitely not in 'public interest' - we would rather the world cup thanks) for if (hopefully not!) and when the England team go out, the media can put the blame squarely on the door of the people they have earmarked as scapegoats. 'Capello could not take the pressure' 'International management was a step too far' '£6m for what!'.

    It is so obvious it is depressing.

    The free press have no accountability or morals or patriotism whatsoever and call all the shots in ALL situations. A democratic dictatorship.

  • Comment number 75.


    "A country blessed with past greatness in goalkeepers? Don't make me laugh"

    Why would you laugh, unless you knew nothing about football? It's indisputably the case - it's the one position where we've consistently had quality, from Harry Hibbs to Gordon Banks, Shilton etc etc.

    This is obviously a bit of a non-story - Capello gets a bit grumpy with nosy photographers wouldn't be headline news unless it was World Cup week. But you can't blame Phil - or the media - it's the phoney war, we're all just desperate to get this thing started and filling time and column inches where we can. Once the matches start, Capello will (hopefully!) be less grumpy, Phil will be back to writing about proper football, and we'll be getting our fix of footy.

    Bring it on!!! Can't wait.

  • Comment number 76.

    to #73.

    capello didnt scream. he didnt even shout. watch the clip.

  • Comment number 77.

    The tabloids look at the World Cup and the England team as a huge opportunity. It's like their version of "sweeps" week. Any story to do with England is worth more than it's weight in gold.
    While I believe they actually are England fans at heart (I hope!), Any stories is money no matter what they are because they know people will be fickle enough to continue buying and reading that kind of trash.
    I for one have never in my life read tripe like The Sun, Star, Mirror, NOTW or any other such ugly tabloid for the simple reason of them not having any morals in their quests for stories. Stings, lies, rumours, papping is a common tactic in this and has no place in providing real information to the masses.

    If people stopped buying that rubbish, maybe they'd stop printing it.

    And before anyone says there's good parts in their stories, even the front pages are strung full of lies, stings and rumours...

  • Comment number 78.

    Great blog, compelling and rich, and on such a worthwhile subject. Next time Capello sneezes, PLEASE let us all know.

  • Comment number 79.

    "Let me know your thoughts on England's build-up, the goalkeeper situation and the US game - and of course Fabio's spat today."

    The mere fact that you mention the last point shows the gutter journalism involved here. I think the biggest reason why most foreigners want England to lose at the major championships is due to the sensationalism of the English media rather than any leftover resentment of the British Empire.

  • Comment number 80.

    Phil McNulty wrote:

    "It is believed there was some discontent because England's players were followed by the media on their safari on Tuesday, but it was a public place after all and closing down an entire game reserve for their benefit was never going to be an option."

    So, probably the last relaxing team-building event these guys can go on before the World Cup starts, and you're sticking with your guns that the media should've been all over it? Can you not at least see why it might have helped the team if they'd been left alone?

    I agree with what some people have said about Capello creating a siege mentality - if I were in his position, I'd use the media to create such an atmosphere. They are a predictable entity - he can exert his authority, show everyone he means business without it really affecting anything (people are right about this being a non-story). This is the perfect example of an intelligent man manipulating outside forces to galvanize a less intelligent workforce, and the success rate of this strategy in football is startling (Mourinho's treble, anyone?)

  • Comment number 81.

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

  • Comment number 82.

    Post 74 - I agree with you completely, afterall it was the media that went into a private area now they are trying to make it out as though Capello had an outburst. Phil McNulty is showing tremendous bias towards the photographers.

  • Comment number 83.

    I'd rather see a blog on the whole England team/goalkeeper selection or the build-up to the US match. How about an insight to the US team and the mood in America - tell us something about the players we haven't heard of as opposed to the obvious ones such as Donnovan, Dempsey and Howard etc. In fact, given the amount of injuries to a lot of big players recently - Drogba, Robben, Nani, Iniesta, Ballack to name a few - how about a blog about how other nations are feeling and how it could affect their world cup chances.

    I know there isn't much going on before the world cup but the above is far more interesting and newsworthy than the manager getting angry at the photographers. I wouldn't like it if a man stood outside my house and took pictures of me inside. It is worth a couple of lines at the end of an article, not a whole blog.

    As for the GK - Green to start (Hart can be the one for Euro 2012 and hopefully long beyond and James' fitness is a concern to me as he is no more error prone than many other keepers).

  • Comment number 84.

    No confidence.

  • Comment number 85.

    As seen with Sven Goran Eriksson and the 'Fake Sheikh', and more recently with Lord Triesmann, the English press are the teams worst enemy. Therefore people should be questioning what exactly the press were doing and not whether the extremely experienced Capello is 'cracking up.'

  • Comment number 86.

    Today: "Capello shouts at photographers".
    Tomorrow: "Capello enjoys poached egg".
    Some days are simply slow news days, huh?

  • Comment number 87.

    #8 like the cockroach simile(?) - fully agree.

  • Comment number 88.

    Stupid media.

  • Comment number 89.

    Tofergie knows best and others...where is the negativity in what I have written about Capello here?

    I quote: "Cracking up? This takes quite a leap of the imagination for a man who has managed in some of the most pressurised environments in world football - and flourished, too."

    I have actually made it quite clear that Capello is not being affected by the inevitable pressures of the World Cup and have been supportive of him, so no negativity here.

    Rest assured, the reaction of the media (not just from England) to what happened means that this was and is a story. It is the first time we have seen a glimpse of the angry Capello at close quarters, and as I stated, the major significance for me was that we got a look at what the man behind the mask can be like when things are not how he wants them.

    No negativity whatsoever, and also those who suggest that football correspondents who cover England wish to undermine them, or somehow hope that some misfortune befalls them, I cannot stress enough how wrong this is.

    The media group that follows England wants them to be a success - what bigger story could there be in our careers than reporting on England winning the World Cup?

  • Comment number 90.

    Next week... a blog on how Rooney sneezing means that he is 'passionate' but a 'liability'.

    "The press, who we know will do anything for a story, love to create the downfall of anything or anyone popular. And when this happens, for example Capello losing his temper or Rooney swears shock horror, they jump on this to try and show a weakness in the players and staff.

    They go on so much about how we need to have faith, confidence and belief in the team and the manager etc, when really, the only people who don't, are them.

    They will blame anyone and everyone apart from the people who actually have a negative affect on everything-the press themselves."

    The English media are the enemy of the English people. Capello will use their hatred and comtempt to his advantage, much like Mourinho and Ferguson did, and create a siege mentality. We can win despite your type, Mr McNulty.

  • Comment number 91.

    Forgive me, Phil, I didn't realise the significance of the "Vesuvius" reference at first, but I think I understand the secret-code now:

    Vesuvius rained hot ash down on Pompeii, killing it's inhabitants.
    David James is goalkeeper for Portsmouth (aka Pompeii). So Capello will not do him any favours.

    This seems like a good reason to pick Hart, considering:

    a) Compared to the other two, Hart's main weakness seems to be that he hasn't had enough chances to fail yet.
    b) If John ('team man') Terry wants James and is "briefing" others to this effect, as some have suggested, then this seems a better reason to drop Terry, not Hart.
    c) Hart has the same surname as me.

  • Comment number 92.

    Away from Capello, I'd like to hear more of your thoughts on the England goalkeeping situation. In my opinion this is the single biggest dilemma facing Capello at this World Cup. Let me know your opinions.

  • Comment number 93.

    Every 4 years you just can't believe it's come round again. No, I'm not talking about 'relations' with the missus, I'm talking about the World Cup. The Olympics, are to some, the most important event in the sporting world; but we 'few billion' know that the World Cup gives us the (All too rare) chance to take into the international arena, our passions, carefully honed by the Premiership, Champions League (Et al)for 10 months a year.
    Qualifying is long over; you endured the prolonged wait to see who we would face in the group stages (Massive touch there by-the-way).Now, after all the drama of picking the squad, suffering the (Obligatory) freak-injury, mulling over strategy and tactics and enduring the (Obligatory) press-driven over-pressurising of the entire England squad: we're neraly there. It's a wonder that the entire squad haven't drowned in a sea of adrenalin and anticipation.
    Ultimately, It does a player good to know that he's likely to get his family jewels ripped off if he earns the wrath of his manager. I think that if we play the best football we can, and we get the necessary slices of luck; then we have just as good a chance of becoming world champions as do Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Holland etc.
    Come on boys let's be avin you (Copyright D. Smith)

  • Comment number 94.

    Not back-tracking are you, Sir Phil?

    What about the Knighthood?

  • Comment number 95.

    "The media group that follows England wants them to be a success - what bigger story could there be in our careers than reporting on England winning the World Cup?"

    Good question Phil. The answer? Constant failure. Humans are far more attracted to tragedy, as we see in the news... only the bad stories are interesting.
    Building up unrealistic hopes and then delight in character assassinations and witch-hunts. The World Cup is infinitely bigger if it is the 'Holy Grail' of English Football and not something we have won in recent memory.

    Either you are naive and do not really understand what you are contributing to, or something far more sinister.

    The media group that follow England want stories to get justifiably paid, this is understandable of course. They want complete access to everything, and expect the England staff to adhere to their wishes, and throw their toys out of the pram when they do not get everything their way.

    We have seen this in your blog... if you actually watch the video, Capello is merely irritated at the media crossing a line.. not exactly showing signs of pressure/strain ay all. When you add this to the already-now too familiar campaign of undermining the England team from all sides of the English media, we realise that this is the foundations of finding a scapegoat for a potential exit.

    We have all said that it is a slow news day, but rather than actually do research into the USA, given us the lowdown on team and formations, discuss the merits of the goalkeepers... you have decided on the quick sensationalist headline. Click, click, click.. it is working though!

    All I will say though is that 90% of responses have been in a similar vein to mine: one of ridicule and annoyance at the monotony and consistency of media campaigns. And now it seems you have realised it too (#92) and tried to deflect attention away from your main issue.

  • Comment number 96.

    We are indeed blessed with past greatness in goalkeepers as Jake Hadlee has emphasised. Gordon Banks, Peter Shilton and David Seaman, name another country that has had 3 keepers as good as those in different generations in the past 50 years?

    Tend to disagree that Rooney is the best forward in football, Messi is ahead as is David Villa, Drogba is perhaps on a par and there may be a few others as well. Rooney is exceptionally good and certainly in an elite group, but not the best right now. If he plays like 2004 but without the metatarsal injury the he might have a stronger claim to be the best.

  • Comment number 97.

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

  • Comment number 98.

    Nobody's talking any more about the ridiculous non-story that was Wayne Rooney's yellow card.

    Job done.

  • Comment number 99.

    On the goalkeeping subject - for me, it has to be Hart. I'm a Birmingham fan so I've seen a lot of him this last year and he is just superb. He will go on to be world class and England No1 for many years, I'm sure of that - he's not quite world class at the moment (occasionally indecisive when dealing with crosses, and - as Capello pointed out - needs to work on his distribution) but still way ahead of Green or James.

    The biggest thing about Hart is that he oozes self-belief. The bigger the game, the more commanding he appeared - and some of the saves he pulled off were extraordinary, not just in one or two games but in several. I've no doubt at all he'd not only handle the World Cup, he'd handle the final if it came to that. Takes a very good penalty too.

    Ask any Birmingham fan if we'd rather have Hart back with us next year or our pick of any other England player in any position - and (apart from Rooney) we'd pick Hart every time.

  • Comment number 100.

    I would actually like to see Fabio smack one of the tabloid they deserve it...having said that, this particular 'non story' is just getting far too much publicity. He didn't rant, he made it clear he was unhappy about yet more intrusion.
    The big questions are:

    1. Why does he not know his best goalkeeper by now ? We qualified easily. Use the same keeper. Hart has appalling decision making when it comes to distribution...keeping the ball for far too long will cost us (guaranteed) in a game when a ref pulls him up for time...this will ONLY happen to England (another guarantee there).

    2. England have had 4 world class goalkeepers in the past forty years - Banks, Shilton, Clemence and Seaman (on a good day) - which is not a bad return. Whoever doubted Phil on that one needs there head testing or they genuinely know nothing about the game...

    3. I just want the b****y thing to start I am getting really irritated about all the opinions flying about (including my own !). Roll on Saturday (for us).

    4. Capello has not lost the plot, he directed some frustration at the press, but I seriously think he is concerned about our lack of quality. We simply have no flair or direction at the one wants to keep the ball or take any players on. Lennon is the only genuine dribbler we have...and he's no Messi. Quarters at best I'm afraid. You don't go any further without genuine craft and guile in the middle of the park. Lampard and Gerrard simply aren't skilful enough to unlock the best defences a-la Kaka, Messi, Xavi, Iniesta, Sneijder and Van Persie.

    Hope I am wrong.


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