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The end of the sad lads and the bad WAGs

Robbo Robson | 09:29 UK time, Friday, 17 October 2008

Four wins out of four, 14 goals for, three against, five for Rooney, three for Walcott, none for Heskey (but then again he has established himself now as international football's first ever out-and-out non-goalscoring centre-forward).

But the most interesting contribution to the chat around Capello's first few games in charge came from Rio Ferdinand. Capello is business-like, professional and there was a bit of 'a circus' going on around the players during previous regimes.

If he means there were three lions everywhere but they were tamed and toothless then I see his point. There was a lot of juggling in the midfield too, the tumblers were all Portuguese..and there were plenty of clowns on the pitch.

In fact you could cut together a few choice clips to the music and lyrics of Send In The Clowns...

"Isn't it rich" (Beckham skies his penalty against Portugal)
"Are we a pair?" (Gerrard and Lampard step on each other's toes)
"Me here at last on the ground" (Owen writhes in agony on the touchline)
"You in mid-air" (Peter Crouch just about anywhere)
"And where are the clowns?" (Paul Robinson Croatian clanger, Gerrard's far post miss against Russia, Scott Carson's butterfingers too . And McClown himself under his comedy umbrella... )

It appears Rio was actually referring to the WAGs' sideshow. Posh was mistress of ceremonies with her slightly enhanced Big Top (if you believe the press reports - and your own eyes) and there was magician's assistant Coleen, the Geordie snarler Cheryl and numerous other women who might make a splash in a lads' mag but haven't caused even the slightest ripple across the Robson consciousness.

The fact that some of these women seem content to build a career around being some sort of girl-shaped bling on the arm of a Premier League footballer kind of sums up what's wrong with this country. I saw one of 'em on Jonathan Ross - Crouchy's girlfriend I think - and frankly I'd be more engrossed by a Glenn Roeder press conference.


The fact that Capello's got shot of this carnival float that has tagged itself on to the England set-up is the best news England fans have had in a long time. If you want a team to be at its best, then keep the lasses out of it. With the best will in the world most of 'em don't realize how to keep out the way when it comes to football.

I dunno if you've ever had the lass appearing at the sitting room door wearing something alluring when Match of the Day's on. Well I have, and to be frank, it's bleeding pointless. You could be Kelly Brook and I wouldn't look. Sometimes they even stand in front of the bloody telly!

The trouble is successful sportsmen have to be one-track minded. You don't need earache about a new kitchen or some soft flippin' furnishings or what the kids might want for their birthdays when there's three vital points at stake.

Clearly the WAGs found a good team spirit - Bacardi, I think it was. But you don't want to be reading about them shrieking and boozing like a bunch of jungle parrots either. So keeping the lot of them off the road is a brilliant move.

But Capello's brought a lot more than a few rules and regulations to the party (incidentally I'd like to see him in charge of some hedge fund managers next). He's brought honest-to-goodness nous with him.

He makes changes at half-time that seem to solve any problems. He got away with the Stank Gerpard conundrum on Wednesday, but I reckon he must've worked out that Belarus would have nowt coming down their right so Gerrard wasn't needed to defend so much. I still think it's either/or with them two when Joe Cole comes back, mind.

Heskey, who was magnificent in Minsk, moved out to the left, Lampard played more of a holding role and Rooney's been given his head and he looks, well, brilliant. I never quite understood the Rooney doubters. He's only 22, he's had niggly injuries, he's been played in funny old positions and it's not that easy to out-shine the gelled tumbler at OT.

But he's got talent to burn, he works his wotsits off (and occasionally tries to do the same to others) and the new look's great. It's like having a squaddie bouncer with dancer's feet hunting you down.

The fact is, there's a bloke in charge who knows a damn sight more than the lot of them put together about how to win football matches, and they trust him. It's the football equivalent of replacing Adam Woodyatt with Robert de Niro.

Even better than the results are the noises coming out of the camp. Capello's happy but not jumping up and down, grinning like a kid on Christmas morning and Gerrard's talking about staying humble - I mean how refreshing is that to hear from a lad who only gets to play his proper position five times out of 50?

There's still questions about the left-hand side and in particular Shaun Wright-Phillips - who would clearly run through brick walls for the team but you wonder why he actually seems to aim for them so often.

Capello's got two games coming up against top teams. You can't call them friendlies 'cos it's Germany and Spain, but hopefully he'll be able to try out some of the others - Ashley Young and Agbonlahor deserve a run, Carrick and Hargreaves might be around by then and all and Joe Hart needs a start.

It's looking good but I'm not thinking too far ahead. Take each game as it comes. It's all about the three points....but it's been anything but drabio, Fabio.


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