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Mixed signals as Capello plots England revival

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Dan Roan | 21:19 UK time, Saturday, 7 August 2010

What a difference nine weeks makes.

The last time Fabio Capello made a squad announcement (or rather we in the media did on his behalf via Twitter), it was on the eve of the World Cup and belief in the Italian was absolute.

Despite awkward, pre-tournament contract negotiations after a flirtation with Inter Milan, an embarrassing climbdown over the ill-judged player-ratings index that bore his name and uninspiring warm-up performances against Mexico and Japan, Capello was untouchable.

Bolstered by the most convincing England qualification campaign in living memory, he was widely considered to know best. Finally, England looked like genuine contenders.

Even when he took the decision to leave young, hungry match-winners like Theo Walcott and Adam Johnson at home, ignore in-form players like Scott Parker and Michael Dawson and break his own promises by taking injured players such as Gareth Barry and Ledley King to South Africa.

Capello's 23-man squad was chosen with one aim in mind: to win the World Cup. And who were we to doubt his selection?

But the days when the Italian's judgement was beyond reproach are well and truly over. After presiding over the worst-ever England defeat at a World Cup finals, Capello is extremely fortunate to be in a position to announce a new squad at all.
Fabio CapelloEngland's woeful World Cup campaign has tarnished Capello's reputation

Despite David Beckham's insistence that England's players were to blame, Capello should have been sacked the morning after the debacle of Bloemfontein, not least for his intransigence over tactics and formation. Some believe the Italian was only spared because his employers were reluctant to pay the price of dismissing him and felt they had no obvious alternative to call upon.

For these reasons, the squad announced by Capello on Saturday for the friendly against Hungary at Wembley is arguably one of the most important of his career. Much more important than if this had been the victorious homecoming ceremony the FA no doubt dreamed of when arranging the fixture.

Despite cheaper ticket prices and a major FA marketing push, the match will not now be attended by thousands of England fans after the fiasco of South Africa. (Incredibly, however, of the 37 international matches in Europe this week, England's will be the best attended)

Sure, boos will be directed at those who underperformed and, like Wayne Rooney and John Terry, spoke out of turn in the summer.

The match is unwanted by many, with most Premier League managers wishing the game had never been arranged. There is no headline sponsor either after Nationwide ended their long association with the FA.

Yet, however unpopular a game it may be, it is a crucial one for the England squad. It must give a nation hope when there seems to be little, generate public interest in a sullied product and repair the tarnished reputation of the manager.

So has Capello now done enough in his selection to prove that he understands what went wrong in South Africa and is willing to take an uncharacteristically long-term perspective as he tries to develop a new generation of England players that might do better in Brazil in 2014?

In short, does this squad represent the fresh start that England and Capello so desperately need?

Some would argue that to properly usher in a new era, a headline-grabbing French-style culling was required, with at least several high-profile England stalwarts punished with exclusion.

Capello has gone as far as he felt he could and probably further than most of us expected him to. King, David James, Rob Green, Leighton Baines, Tom Huddlestone, Stephen Warnock, Matthew Upson and Shaun Wright-Phillips were obvious casualties.

Jermain Defoe, Joe Cole, Aaron Lennon and Peter Crouch can all count themselves slightly unfortunate given their limited chances at the World Cup. Nonetheless, their exclusions are welcome evidence that evolution, if not revolution, is genuinely underway. Lennon and Huddlestone will hopefully be angered by the snub and come again. Elsewhere, the usual, wearily familiar core of the England team has been retained.

Capello evidently feels that none of his world-class spine of Terry, Ashley Cole, Barry, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard or Rooney are expendable and must be retained to qualify for Euro 2012, along with captain Rio Ferdinand once he is fit.

Barry and Terry, in particular, are fortunate to remain after their awful displays against Germany, not to mention Terry's one-man rebellion after the draw against Algeria. But surely only Rooney will play in Brazil in 2014.

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None of Walcott, Johnson or Ashley Young are unknown to England fans but their recalls are evidence that Capello has learnt from the mistake of jettisoning the kind of young, fast, hungry players that did so well for Germany this summer. Gabriel Agbonlahor is unfortunate not to have joined them.

Having recovered from the broken foot that probably denied him a place in South Africa, Kieran Gibbs's first senior call-up is another symbolic and welcome step as he begins the task of becoming Cole's long-term successor at left-back.

But it is the inclusion of another of Arsenal's youngsters that will no doubt become the signature selection of Capello's squad.

Having been left out of the under-21 squad for the game against Uzbekistan, Jack Wilshere's promotion was an open secret but it will still capture the imagination of England fans who are desperate for fresh blood.

The 18-year-old cannot be expected to revive the national team's fortunes just yet. He has yet to start a game for Arsenal in the Premier League, while the London club's refusal to grant Cesc Fabregas his wish to return to Barcelona means Wilshere will find opportunities just as hard to come by in the team's midfield this season.

But having shone against Celtic in the Emirates Cup last weekend, the evidence is growing that Wilshere is the most exciting English youngster since Rooney burst on to the scene eight years ago. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger's refusal to countenance another loan deal to Bolton is also evidence that he knows he has someone very special on his hands.

In goal, the omission of James is the right decision. He may have had a reasonable World Cup but, at 40 years of age and having retreated to the Championship, now is the right time to end his 13-year England career, regardless of his nightmare 3-0 debut defeat for Bristol City.

The 23-year-old Joe Hart should be England's goalkeeper for many years to come, Ben Foster, now at Birmingham City after wasted years as back-up at Old Trafford, still has plenty to offer, while Paul Robinson returns from three years in the international wilderness after Robert Green's meltdown in South Africa.

In defence, even if Jamie Carragher and King were willing or fully fit respectively, neither should play for England again, along with Upson.

Arsenal's interest in Phil Jagielka is proof of the quality and intelligence of the Everton defender, who, having been recalled alongside the rapidly improving Gary Cahill, must now challenge the injured Ferdinand for a place alongside Terry.

Dawson and James Milner were arguably the only two players whose reputations were enhanced in South Africa and both have vital roles to play for England over the next few years, in Dawson's case, perhaps as captain.

Darren Bent, Walcott and Johnson all did brilliantly by not being associated with the shambles, and on Wednesday all must show Capello precisely what he was missing.

It is difficult to get too excited by the recall of Wes Brown, although I find it heartening to see Capello has resisted the urge to choose Micah Richards. More interesting is the continued exclusion of Parker and Lee Cattermole, whose battling qualities England cry out for.

Michael Carrick would surely have been discarded regardless of his injury, along with the likeable but abject Emile Heskey, who thankfully spared Capello the job of dropping him by retiring.

Bobby Zamora's inclusion is fully deserved after an extraordinary season for Fulham and finally proves that Capello is willing to look beyond the elite clubs in the Premier League as he continues his search for a proper England number nine.

Carlton Cole also has the chance to compete again in this regard, although Newcastle's Andy Carroll is emerging rapidly as a contender and is pressing for selection.

Capello's brave new dawn must not stop with this overhaul. Wilshere, Cahill, Gibbs, and Johnson are merely a step in the right direction. Next, in future squads, must come the likes of Cattermole, Jack Rodwell, Dan Gosling, Phil Jones, and Ryan Shawcross.

Capello is a naturally conservative manager but this time he has no choice but to be bold, in both his team selection and tactics. No longer can he fall back on the tried and trusted 4-4-2 and the so-called 'Golden Generation'. Both are defunct and robbed of the aura of invincibility - Capello must look to the future.

Capello enjoyed little luck in South Africa. Remember Ferdinand's training ground injury. Green's blunder v USA. Lampard's disallowed goal against Germany.

Equally, he cannot be held accountable for decades of FA neglect when it comes to coaching and developing the country's young players. But despite the lack of depth, Capello has no choice now but to bring about real change.

On Monday, at a news conference marking the beginning of his second phase as England manager, Capello will finally give us his version of events and explain how this squad selection will help bring about a proper revival.

There must be no more talk of the Jabulani ball, goal-line technology, fatigue, playing with fear or altitude. The manager's English must also show proper signs of improvement.

Capello has been given a second chance and he must use it. Six weeks after his insipid post-defeat press briefing in Rustenburg, Capello must show what he is made of.

An air of revival and a sense of fun and pride are what he must instill in this new squad, this new England. Crucial Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland are looming. This match may be a friendly but is far from meaningless.


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  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    It is nothing to do with Capello but you hit the nail on the head at the end of the article. It starts with the quality, or lack of, coaching at junior level. Some of the poorest countries in the world have better basic skills than England players.

    The rot starts at the bottom and is skimmed by the top. Less wages for the big players more money in schools coaching. It ain't rocket science.

  • Comment number 3.

    The personnel may have changed but I don't expect any changes in d quality of England's performances.

  • Comment number 4.

    i don't think that capello has done enough to deserve the sack but the overhaul off old rotting bloood is needed in the england squad

  • Comment number 5.

    Good start but why are Lampard and Terry still there? they were probably along with Rooney the worst two players at the WC. also Barry? why not go the whole way for a meaningless match that noone wants?

  • Comment number 6.

    Was this blog written for the sun?

    Tired clichés about Capello's English and the fact that he should have been sacked. Who exactly would you replace him with? Despite one poor tournament, he is the best option England have.

    I do wish Terry and Barry would be 'retired' after quite appalling performances against Germany. I'd Parker or Cattermole ahead of Barry and Terry should never disgrace an England squad again.

  • Comment number 7.

    Excellent analysis, I think. I do think that England need the experience in midfield and defence, so sticking with Lampard, Terry and Gerrard is a decent move.

    Really hope that Capello remembers the original plan - ignore reputation over form; big names mean nothing; pick the best players at the time.

    That is exactly what he did not do in SA.

  • Comment number 8.

    What an excellent blog. Passionately written, and you clearly believe in what you are actually saying. I agreed with almost every word (I don't think Capello deserved/deserves the sack). Kudos!

  • Comment number 9.

    England had no chance of winning the World Cup this year, it was obvious from all that had gone before with the Terry-Bridge saga, Ashley Cole's photos and terrible performances in the friendlies (even though results were ground out). I had faith in Capello right up until the Germany game - I'll give you that almost everything that could have gone wrong did - but his response to it all was to bring on Heskey, a striker with an appalling goalscoring record and should never have been anywhere near the squad. We have some brilliant young players coming through, they just need a chance at both club and country level.

  • Comment number 10.

    Also, I think it's still a bit too early for Carroll to get a call up - he needs to prove himself at Premier League level first.

  • Comment number 11.

    It is nice to see some new names in the England squad for a change. Hopefully, they can make their own mark and put some of our "Golden Generation" to shame.

    I agree with Bill40 in terms of less wages and more money in coaching but honestly I can't see that it will happen. If the FA/Premier League have refused a Winter Break, then I see no chance of docking wages.

    In term's of Capello axing our former World Cup Squad, why on earth is Rooney still in there? Of all the players that played during the World Cup, I consider him to have done the least. Not mentioning his childish outburst to England Fan's. I do not know why we constantly put our faith in this over-paid man-child. Why is he in the squad above Crouch or Joe Cole?

    As far as I can see Capello is paying lip-service just like Maclaren did.

    And if Rooney is devoted to England as much as he claims, then surely him not being named in the squad would be a kick up the backside? With the intention that he is not our only striker and that his name is not set in stone?

    Anyway, hopefully we can get a result against a descent international side and have a glimmer of hope when 2012 comes round.

  • Comment number 12.

    Dan, I think you miss the point completely. The real facts are the majority of football fan couldn't give a monkeys about International Football and I suspect the same is starting to be felt by Premier League / Serie A / La Liga players more and more each year.

    The Fabio bashing is boring. Isn't it pretty much the same core of 'untouchable' stars that have been hanging round for England for the last 3 or 4 major tournaments. England didn't even qualify for Euro 2008, so to think we'd win the World Cup in 2010 was just stupid.

    The pressure is too great on the England set up, the FA are only interested in the money and quite frankly as I said before who really cares!

  • Comment number 13.

    "Capello should have been sacked the morning after the debacle of Blomfontein, not least for his intransigence over tactics and formation."

    Well you should probably justify that comment before you do anything else I would say - I for one don't think another knee-jerk sacking is the answer.

    Also interested why you highlight Tom Huddlestone as an "obvious" casualty: he has three England caps, and I think less than a total of 90 minutes on the pitch for his country. He also didn't make the final squad.

    He isn't a Lampard who has wasted many opportunities: he's exactly the type of player who should have been given more of a chance in the run-up to the World Cup, alongside the likes of Adam Johnson.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think Lampard, Terry & Barry should all bow out of international football, along with Joe Cole & Jamie Carragher.

    Let's just bring the youth through, take Germany's approach.

  • Comment number 15.

    I largely agree with the selection, however, the continued selection of John Terry is almost fatally flawed - he is the huge, ugly stumbling block which will always prevent Capello and the players moving forward. He is not just a victim of, but as we learnt during the summmer, a central cause of the pesistent failure of this particular generation from moving forward. Chelsea succeed INSPITE of him, not because of him.

  • Comment number 16.

    Agreed that he cannot fall back on the "Golden generation", but they're all still there. John Terry, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney should never pull on an England shirt again. How many chances have they all been given and how many times have they abjectly underperformed?
    Dump the lot and break in some kids who will have enough experience by the time Euro 2016 rolls around that we may have a chance of winning something. Hansen may have got it wrong when he said "You'll never win anything with kids" but for sure you'll never win anything with serial underachievers.

  • Comment number 17.

    Gabriel Agbonlahor is unfortunate not to have joined them.

    Gabby is injured.

  • Comment number 18.

    I disagree with Martin, I actually thought this was a very good read Dan.

    Change must not be too rapid, and its ironic that I never though I would groan in seeing Gerrard, Lampard et al in an England squad but that is just what I did.

    Very informative blog, well done.

  • Comment number 19.

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

  • Comment number 20.

    See Dan, this is the reason England are never fully supported by fans and media alike. When the squad was announced today, I was expecting a radical overhaul. What we got was a half way house built of straw and a bit of mud.
    Thankfully, I can only speak of the Everton players because thanks to the southern bias of the media, Everton players have been roundly ignored. Before others jump on me for a) being biased and b) obviously not knowing what I am talking about, why is it other clubs have been trying to poach our players who obviously aren't good enough for England?
    I'm sorry, but Baines has been ditched? Why? Because when he played at ledt back, he was not allowed to play his usual Everton game which had won him admiring glances from other luminaries and illustrious football people. This was mainly due to the absurd idea that Gerrard was a left winger who in today's game should also get back and support the left back. He didn't. It exposed Baines horribly and ensured that Baines could not use his attacking prowess. The biggest ommission today was not playing one of the best midfielders of his young age - Jack Rodwell. If Capello was not too busy indexing players and pandering to the likes of the old guard (joke), and had the courage to cull far more than he did, then surely the future of England to build upon would start with the likes of Rodwell? Personally I am glad for selfish reasons, he hasn't been picked. He has far greater things in his Everton destiny than to play for England especially with that load of poachers around him.

  • Comment number 21.

    I agree with Feldman61, there is still a spine in that team which has consistently failed, terry lampard,gerrard,barry etc are now begining to wind down their careers. We need to replace that spine with younger players, help them gain experience, build a team around them.I do blame capello as much as the players, i think he got / has got a lot of things wrong, especially tactically and selection wise. One situation what i feel strong about is Dawson, to me he was the one centre back who came in to the squad with form, consistency etc, yet he was the last resort, and now arguably will be the first choice centre back in the next tournament, yet he will also be inexperienced, so why didnt he play against the so called lesser teams such as Slovenia, Algeria, so he can gain that experience, instead we wasted that oppurtunity with carragher, king etc. I remember the germans making a few subs, bringing on some more youngsters, more inexperienced players, and in my oppinion this will help "blood" them. With a young team, there will be ups and downs, but this can only help us fans and especially the media lower our expectations, how we started as third favorites to win i will never know,but im sure the media hype etc helped

  • Comment number 22.

    Awaiting moderation. Wat???????? Rubbish blog is all I said. BBC, should be ashamed.

  • Comment number 23.

    Can't quite believe the calls for Rooney, Ashely Cole, Lampard etc to be axed. A few poor games does not a bad player make. Cole is the best left back in the world, and had a reasonable tournament. Lampard was the only player to come out of the Germany game who deserved to be pleased with his performance. Rooney is Rooney. He's still young and improving and is still a sensational player.

    I'm pleased to see youngsters to get their go, but to name 23 teenagers would be lunacy. An experienced backbone to the team is vital, if only to guide these kids. Don't expect too much from Wilshere etc. I presume he's only been included to gain some vital experience with an England squad and I don't expect him to get much game time, if any at all.

    Why the clamour for Cattermole, Shawcross, Gosling etc? These are, in reality, average players with little to no experience against quality opposition. Barry is undoubtedly a better player than Cattermole, and playing Cattermole against Hungary for 20 minutes won't change that.

    Change is required, a revolution is not.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Very good analysis and conclusions. I do think that the team could have been more experimental for this particular game but I do not agree with some of the comments that Lampard and Barry should be axed. You present a list of "obvious casualties, though I would not include Warnock in that list for the simple reason he never got to play in SA. Is he good enough is another question and in the long term I think not. The same applies to Abonglahor, who you and some posters mentioned. He has really impressed at times for Villa but he is not consistently outstanding. The next two seasons are critical for him and other young contenders.

  • Comment number 26.

    23. At 11:34pm on 07 Aug 2010, futureheadben wrote:

    "Can't quite believe the calls for Rooney, Ashely Cole, Lampard etc to be axed. A few poor games does not a bad player make."

    I think for Lampard, it is a case of 'one half decent England game does not a great England player make'

    So, Capello changed the bench. Big deal. This is not the "new England":

    Johnson - Terry - Dawson - Cole
    Gerrard - Lampard - Milner - Barry - Walcott

    Look familiar?

    Disappointed. Nothing has been learned. Come the Euro qualifiers, all the young blood will be forgotten and the England manager will do what England managers have been doing for the past 6 years. Trusting the Golden Generation to finally deliver.

  • Comment number 27.

    Sykes I thought McNulty was bad, though this bloke doesn't have a clue in some areas.
    Capello made some mistakes granted but sack him? Who made the mistakes 2003-2007 (the Golden generation for the record)?
    Dawson - future captain (things are worse than even I thought). Cahill and Jagielka should build a partnership as are much better players. However kick Ferdinand and Terry out now.
    King - what on earth are you on about. The injury he picked up was unrelated to his previous problems. Duh!
    Walcott - match winner? The phrase 'one swallow doesn't make a summer'. Chris Waddle was twice the player Walcott will never be said it all 'does not have a football brain. He shouldn't be in - no way.

    The real question is why Gerrard and Lampard are retained. These are not to the real untrained eye football fans good enough to continue to play for England. John Barnes, a complete under performer for England, won a lot of undeserved caps though these 2 make his tally look modest by the end. Oh well another 2 years of dross.

  • Comment number 28.

    Can someone, anyone, please explain at what point England have managed to acquire an "aura of invincibility"? Surely such hyperbole should be limited to the great international teams we have been witness to down the years - of which, I should say, there have been few. At no point in the last, dare I say it, 50 years have England ever exhibited this quality. Yes, Cole, Gerrard, Lampard are great players but Terry and the rest will not, cannot be the heartbeat of a great team. And that is where England will always fall down as long as the fans, the media, the manager succumbs to the hype of the player as the sole being of quality. No team has ever been great on the back of one player. No player has ever been great by playing in a weak team. Find a balance and a great England team will emerge - but who will have the courage to make those hard choices? It must be either Gerrard or Lampard, not both. Either Ferdinand or Terry as captain, not both scrapping for the honour. Make these choices and a great team will emerge. Shape them to make England great as a side, don't shape England.

  • Comment number 29.

    Firstly, I'd just like to say nothing annoys me more than people commenting on blogs (Robbo's was a big favourite) and saying how rubbish it was, as no one was forcing them to read it and i dare say they could do no better, but... This is horrific.

    Full of cliches, ridiculous points of view (Dan Gosling? I dare say his inclusion is purely because of his contract debacle and therefore increased publicity) and outright false statements, I'm surprised this was even published.

    I could write a piece as long as the original article picking our mistakes and absurd views, but I shall leave it purely with the idea that Michael Dawson "enhanced" his reputation in South Africa... the still uncapped Michael Dawson...

  • Comment number 30.

    I dont quite understand Lennon's exclusion, i really don't. Can someone please explain this to me? And no, i am not a spurs fan!!

  • Comment number 31.

    Michael Dawson and James Milner were arguably the only two players whose reputations were enhanced in South Africa

    what rubbish, the ONLY player to come out of the South Africa debacle with enhanced reputation is Rio Ferdinand, as going into the tournement Englands defence looked solid with him missing it was a shambles.
    How did Terry, Gerrard and Lampard survive this? Terry is a joke and no longer even a good defender, and the idea that the two laughing boys can play together has been shot out of the water once and for all, in reality you don't only don't play them together you don't play them at all

  • Comment number 32.

    Why is Garreth Barry still in the squad after HIS performance at the World Cup...he ably demonstrated how to throw away a 20-yard head start head-start against Ozil and be beaten by acres - it appears that he runs in jelly. I was a Barry fan - but to categorize him as "world-class" is somewhat far-fetched

    Surely Joe Cole was more than "slightly unfortunate" to be left out - more like the victim of the stubbornness of the manager who does not like the press/John Terry/every England fan in the country trying to influence his team selection in the wake of his inability to react to the blindingly obvious.

    Also the "young, fast, hungry players that did so well for Germany this summer" were also very good footballers with footballing brains, vision and technique, not just track athletes who have been told to kick a ball - an important distinction to be made here - much like the Oakland Raiders drafting policy (excluding 2010) where they have picked athletic superstars who unfortunately can't actually play the game that they are paid to play.

  • Comment number 33.

    "The Italian was only spared because his employers were reluctant to pay the price of dismissing him, and felt they had no obvious alternative to call upon."

    Unless you got a statement of fact from the FA corroborating this wild piece of heresy, I'd suggest it's not a line you peddle too hard. This was the media's view (and pretty much only the media).

    Whatever failings Capello had and mistakes he made at the WC, he did not go from the "great" manager you all hailed him to be following what can only be described as an exemplary qualification to the "crap" one you now all appear to suggest he is.

    Sacking him because Rooney was incapable of controlling a ball all WC and the rest of them unable to pass a ball to another player over more than 2 yards would have seemed a tad harsh.

    I don't recall anyone questioning his tactics when we went to Croatia and destroyed them.

    This is such a typical knee-jerk article that too many BBC sports "journalists" are now becoming associated with.

    I would love for you to outline why you think that he is now a bad manager?

  • Comment number 34.

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

  • Comment number 35.

    Lennon's unlucky to get left out. He hadn't got back to anywhere near his usual form after his injury in the middle of last season. I can't believe he played the way that he did (cutting inside the last defender instead of taking him on around the outside as he usually does) without those being specific tactical instructions from Capello. Anyway, to leave him out (unless there is another injury concern) is pretty short-sighted in my opinion as he has a lot to offer. It is only a friendly, though.

  • Comment number 36.

    Good to see that with all the players dropped Lampard and Gerrard are still there to hold the midfield together, along with terry to secure the defence - players the team can always rely on to perform when it matters eh?! And not forgetting Rooney of course, to score all of the goals!!! The team is in good hands, for sure!

  • Comment number 37.

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

  • Comment number 38.

    if Capello had used a more free flowing system with Joe Cole, in the group stages, I'm sure Engand would have won the group and may have gotten to the semi finals at least. England should never have had to play a team like Germany in the last 16. England were out of the world cup, the moment the USA scored against Algeria.

  • Comment number 39.

    Mr. Roan, please could you tell us why Michael Dawson was one of the players to come out with an enhanced reputation. His training sessions must have been pretty good - but if we're to believe Capello's comments at the time so were Rooney's, and the rest of the squad's - doesn't really mean much. I think Dawson could be good but your comment didn't make much sense to me.

  • Comment number 40.

    Michael Dawson and James Milner were arguably the only two players whose reputations were enhanced in South Africa.

    Dawson by not playing and Milner by delivering one decent cross to Defoe and not much else ? I really don't understand the hype over Milner - £30 million - seriously ? He's a decent hard working midfielder who scores goals, but not a world beater. Typical of the kind of player that our game produces. How Capello picked him ahead of Cole or Lennon is beyond belief.

  • Comment number 41.

    Agree that so many were awful, and it is hard to understand why Terry, Gerard, Rooney, etc are still in the squad. They need to prove themselves again. Anyway, due to Charity shield, I suspect he might not start with any Chelsea of MUFC players.
    Given the selection I'd go for a 4-2-3-1 that lloks something like:
    Jagielka, Cahill, Dawson, Gibbs
    Milner, Wilshere,
    Johnson, Walcott, Young

    The formation would be flexible enough to go 4-1-4-1 when attacking at pace, and 4-5-1 when defending. Given a hard pitch, this team could play a very fast brand of decent football.

  • Comment number 42.

    People will think "oh nice, finally a chance to prove themselves" and soon after the Hungary match "what a waste of time they were"

    Fact is, so many changes and they won't be a team, they will be worse than our world cup team, and expectantly so.

    The fact is, these are gifted players, and they won't become an instant hit. But if we get behind them, thick and thin, and watch them develop (like they have for their teams), then we could see a nice footballing, confident team in the Euro's.

    I don't want to lambaste their every move, lose hope every match and end up with changes every match. We need growth and consistency.

  • Comment number 43.

    Im sorry Mr Roan but this article is the type of un-insightful, bandwagon consensus, media spun bull that I come to expect from British sports writers.
    Take my advice.... go back to the drawing board and do some proper analysis of the game you are trying to educate people about.

  • Comment number 44.

    "Despite David Beckham's insistence that England's players were to blame, Capello should have been sacked the morning after the debacle of Blomfontein, not least for his intransigence over tactics and formation."

    I stopped reading right there.

    So much for my hope the media would finally pull its head out of its nether regions. Oh well, at least this time there was a decent number of fans who didn't call for the pointless reactionary sacking.

  • Comment number 45.

    “Even when he took the absurd decision to leave young, hungry, match-winners like Theo Walcott and Adam Johnson at home”

    Absurd? I agree but I don't think you gave the impression that this decision was absurd in your column at the end of May before the World Cup.

    "After an inconsistent performance against Mexico, Theo Walcott was poor, and is now surely behind Aaron Lennon in Capello's thinking for a wide starting berth."

    No mention of Adam Johnson in this article - but many comments below the line pleading for Johnson's inclusion in the squad.

    It's easy to be a wise journo after the event Roan but please don't try to fool us that you have always supported Walcott and Johnson. If their omission was 'absurd' surely you would have 'bigged them up' before the World Cup. Lazy journalism.

    Absurd! Sky Sports News to BBC - I think that you're out of your league! More licence fee money down the drain...

  • Comment number 46.

    Oh my word. I rarely comment on blogs on this site, but this one is quite ridiculous. #11 has made the most sensible reply to this so far.

    Why, exactly should Capello have been sacked? Who would you have taken to the World Cup that he didn't Dan? The shock omission was Walcott, and the general consensus is that he isn't a world beater anyway! The players didn't perform when they got to the World Cup, it's as simple as that. There are reasons for this, primarily because most of them had struggled with injuries/form/both throughout last season. Sack the manager? Really? Knee jerk reactions from people such as you is one of the biggest problems with football in this country today.

    Dawson as captain? Why? Is the same Dawson who isn't even captain of his club side? The same Dawson who is essentially just a poor man's John Terry? I don't like John Terry all that much, but you can't deny that he's been playing at the pinnacle of the game for the best part of ten years, and that isn't an accident. The same goes for A Cole, Gerrard, Lampard, Ferdinand. These guys are genuinely world class players, and we can't even recognise it. They are not always going to play well however, and that is something we have to accept. Perhaps try getting behind them, rather than deriding them at every opportunity.

    The Golden Generation - you do not listen do you? Frank Lampard before the World Cup completely dismissed the idea, saying it was nothing but a silly phrase coined by the press, yet you still persist with it.

    We have some good young players coming through in the shape of Rodwell, Wilshere and Gibbs. But to essentially throw the U21 side at the situation is beyond stupid. Germany were very impressive with their new look squad in South Africa, but experienced players such as Klose, Schweinseiger, Mertesacker, Friedrich and Podolski were retained, to bed these guys in.

    Try and look at the big picture. One of the most common arguments for the failure in SA is that the weight of expectation on the England team stifles their creativity and freedom. Yet articles like this simply do not help. You essentially condone Rooney and Terry being booed. That is simply ridiculous. You should never boo your own players, it is never constructive. I dread to think of the reaction in the press if we lose this one. Get some perspective. It's a friendly match, before the season has begun, and an opportunity for Capello to look at some young players if he wishes. The result really isn't all that important, it's about getting a decent performance in, and bedding in some new players to the squad that will hopefully be around for a while and do well.

  • Comment number 47.

    Very good blog!

    Very good selection by Cappelo! The team that played in WC was too fast, too much pace. He must have forgotten that Walcott has pace, otherwise he wouldn't have selected him. Slow is gold! Johnson at RB is another worry not slow enough. I was very impressed with how slow Milner and Barry were.
    So I had no doubt they would be called up. We already know how slow Gerrard Lampard and Terry are! Even Rooney is deceptively slow.


  • Comment number 48.

    Forget the golden generation. Drop them all. And re-label them as the overpaid, overrated generation.

    Choose honest players. Those that are actually good and not overrated.

    My selection:
    GK - Hart
    DR - Johnson (stuck with him, unfortunately)
    DC - Shawcross
    DC - Dawson
    DL - Gibbs (or Ashley Cole, he's still good)
    AMR - Walcott (or Lennon)
    DMC - Parker (we need a battling defensive midfielder and he should be it)
    MC - Milner
    AML - Johnson
    FW - Rooney
    TM - Cole

  • Comment number 49.

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

  • Comment number 50.

    As an american born in England you guys need an outside view from a person who is so totally disgusted with the whole England setup and attitude. As a former Arsenal fan [which i am no more because our so called manager refuses to sign english players]i am appealing to my fellow England fans to show the football assn what they think of them and boycott the Hungary game. But as we know that could never happen because England fans are the worlds best by far. Look how many fans show up for friendlies in most other countries.Capello should have gone for sure as we all know. Terry Lampard Barry A Cole should never be allowed to put on the shirt again. OVERHYPED OVERPAID I have been telling everybody over here that a side made up of championship players would have surely done better because they have commitment and drive which none of those England players we saw have those.We need to have a rule 50% homegrown squads please premier league take note and for once help our country.

  • Comment number 51.

    Andy Carroll???? Seriously?

  • Comment number 52.

    Having travelled to South Africa to see England's last two group games and the Germany match I can safely say that I will never go to another England game as long as Terry is in the squad.

  • Comment number 53.

    What a load of rubbish!

    How on earth Gareth Barry is any near an England squad is beyond me. The guy was awful at the WC and is so over rated its untrue. And as for Glen Johnson, he could quite possibly be the worst defender ive ever seen. His positional sense alone is shocking. And im being kind to them here. Awful players. Could have been worse i suppose, Capello could have asked Heskey to "give it one last go"....

    Further baffling decisions - Wes Brown whos been injured all summer, Carlton Cole, and Theo Walcott......again! No Joe Cole (again), but useless Walcott gets another look in!

    However bad these decisions by Capello are the worst decision has to be by the FA. Why in good God are we playing a meaningless friendly less than a week before the Premiership campaign starts???? Wheres the logic??

  • Comment number 54.

    To the idiots who think everyone should be dropped what are you on? You cannot do that and France were a lot worse then we were and dropped for different reasons. If we want to do will we need to mix youth and age together.

  • Comment number 55.

    To be honest to blame Capello for everything that went wrong with England is a bit too one dimensional, England players are overrated and are simply not good enough to win a world cup anytime soon, simple.

  • Comment number 56.

    Dan Roan writes: "Capello evidently feels that none of his world-class spine of John Terry, Ashley Cole, Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard or Wayne Rooney are expendable."

    Are you for real, Mr Roan? A world-class spine!? How many more abject performances do you need to see (2006, failed 2008 campaign and 2010) to see that Cole - and Rooney when in form - are anything but "world class."

    This is a strange squad selection with none of the "big names" making way. How Terry, Lampard and Gerrard make the squad I do not. Given these three players ages and the number of caps they have, none of them have any excuse for the abject displays they turned in. If they had any pride or decency they would have walked. But Capello is now beginning to seriously test my patience.

  • Comment number 57.

    Oops in post 56 I meant to write:

    "How many more abject performances do you need to see (2006, failed 2008 campaign and 2010) to see that OTHER THAN Cole - and Rooney when in form - are anything but "world class."

  • Comment number 58.

    56 I have to laugh at your post. You say that Lampard and Gerrard should be dropped for bad performances but you say Rooney should stay in. Both were bad but miles better then rooney so if you think they should go so should rooney. If you using world cup and euros then rooney is far from world class.

    I would only have dropped terry. We need to change the team but not do stupid things like dropping everyone.



    Gerrard/ Lampard


    This line already looks better and we need to mix youth with the experience.

    Have players like gibbs, wilshere, Lampard etc on the bench. Terry well he causes more harm then good. he should go forever.

  • Comment number 59.

    I was disappointed to see the inclusion of Barry and to a lesser extent Lampard in the squad, they both had a terrible World Cup and aren't exactly 'the future' of the England team.

    I think Parker and Huddlestone should have been allowed to play a part and show their qualities. Parker has the defensive ability of Barry, but I fele is better wiht the ball and Huddlestone is still young and has an excellent range of passing. I also feel the exclusion of Lennon, also still young, is baffling. He didn't have the greatest World Cup, but he is an exciting winger, so to not be included in the squad is curious to say the least.

    What will be interesting is to see what formation Capello desides to go with. 4-4-2 is his preffered, but surely he won't dare go with that after it was shown to be totally outdated in South Africa. Also his insistence of playing Gerrard on the left is bizzare and I can't understand how someone with so much experience in the game can play our best player out of position.

  • Comment number 60.

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

  • Comment number 61.

    Perhaps when these prima donnas stop thinking about themselves and their wages and start thinking about actually playing for national pride they may take some satisfaction from playing. How on Earth people keep their jobs after such an embarrassing waste of everyone's money is a mystery when I see perfectly good workers lose theirs because of the current economic climate.

    Maybe they should work 40 hours or more a week for a pittance before they start whining about being tired. Earn your wages and you might claim some respect.

  • Comment number 62.

    A very unadventurous squad from Capello. Cannot see that he will learn very much from it .... and why oh why is Ashley Cole still in there? This fiction that he is somehow the best left back in the world is stunning, .....he's not even the best left back at Chelsea. As far as i'm concerned he is very weak defensively and is one of the reasons we looked so shaky in the World Cup with both Upson and Terry dragged across to cover for him time and time again. He might just creep into my squad as a left sided midfielder, but please don't tell me he's a defender.

  • Comment number 63.

    I think some of the championing of youth and fringe Premier League players in this article is a little over the top. As a previos poster has mentioned, Dan Gosling?! I mean really, I know that after the poor showing in the World Cup there is a swelling of opinion that most of the squad over 25 are rubbish but would they have done any better with Andy Carroll, Gosling, Phil Jones and Cattermole?

    There are some promising players outwith the big 4 in the EPL but this journo seems to be advocating a policy of just dumping anyone in the World Cup squad and hoping that the players called in are good enough.

    The reason that Germanys policy worked is that yes they were young and hungry but they also had very very good players to choose from with age only a secondary attribute, is a good pre-season showing by Wilshire really enough to see him in the full squad when he hasnt started a game for Arsenal? It all seems a little desperate to me.

    By all means blood young players but I think they should be used to compliment the experience of guys like Lampard, Ferdinand and Gerrard rather than replace them.

  • Comment number 64.

    oh dear oh dear oh dear
    the level of "journalism" is the most embarrassing thing

    "Capello should have been sacked the morning after the debacle of Blomfontein" - how many times have we heard the frankly pathetic media baying for the head of the national team? By media I mean the self-important journos with no experience of professional sport other than standing on the sidelines who seem to think they have any of the answers

    ",,,Leighton Baines, Tom Huddlestone, Stephen Warnock... were obvious casualties" - er, really? Based on their not playing? What a great point you don't make.

    Dan Roan: should have been sacked the morning after the debacle of this cruddy submission. Not worth the paper it's not written on

  • Comment number 65.

    Capello has chosen by his squad to try to blame fringe players, rather than accept any blame himself. What in the world did Cole, Crouch, Defoe do so wrong that they merit being dropped? They hardly played at the world cup so they should still be judged on last season, i.e. the same judgement which got them included in the squad for the world cup. Then Lennon? Arguably still a future star for England, yet has no place in the squad, but Barry does? Capello has to go, and now.

  • Comment number 66.

    We've all come to terms that Capello is going to stay, and most of us are fine with it.

    The selection has been interesting, if a little bit in the opposite direction. I don't know what Ashley Young has done to oust Joe Cole from the squad apart from not being part of the South Africa debacle.

  • Comment number 67.

    futureheadben talks a lot of sense. "Change is needed - Not revolution."
    Yes we need young blood. Yes the 'Golden Generation' is past its 'prime'. But if the likes of Gerrard, Lampard and Terry want to do something good for England having failed on the big stage, they can help bring through the younger players of tomorrow. In a way the team of tomorrow can be their legacy. Throwing the likes of Wilshire into the side without experienced heads to guide them is far from sensible and least of all productive. Yes include him, but don't give him too much too soon. Also the lack of first team football this season won't be beneficial for him. Maybe the departure of Fabregas to Barca next season will make way for his regular place in the Arsenal side.
    Capello should not have been given the sack. He does, however, need to be given a backbone. After preaching of only taking fit, in form players - he backed down and reverted to reputation in taking an unfit Barry and leaving out the in form Adam Johnson for example. Yet, when he should have broke against his religious guidelines and change from the rigid 4-4-2 he didnt have the stones to do so. It's becoming widely acknowledged that 4-3-3 is the way forward in modern football.
    England need new life, new blood and new faces. This we all know. And the likes of Wilshire, Johnson, Rooney (yes folks, he is still a youngster), Shawcross, Gosling, Milner, Dawson, Walcott, A.Young, Hart, Gibbs and Carol (still to prove himself against the big boys) all pose an exciting future for English football. The potential is there but we mustn't be hasty and rush them through the ranks, just because we want to see immediate change. Instead look at the likes of Spain. How have they took some extremely talented youngsters and turn them into a World Cup winning side?
    This is the secret to England's future success. A carefully crafted fresh breed of talent and a sneak peak at how the likes of Spain, Brazil and Germany are getting it right and (in the case of the latter two) consistently have done for years.

  • Comment number 68.

    Another thing. Oncce one of his biggest critics and thinking he was largely overrated - Lampard actually surprised me in the World Cup. The only one who seemed to want to make something happen. Insanely, same can be said for Heskey. Past it, yes. But he gave 110% and made a lot of the others look lazy and useless during the first few games. And trust me, that's hard for me to admit to!

  • Comment number 69.

    Interesting, that after Harry Redknapp's rant about what a pointless friendly this is and the pressures this puts on his squad and his Champions league chances, Huddlestone, King, Lennon, Defoe, Crouch are excluded from this England team.

    Coincidence?, or advantage Tottenham over City come saturday?

  • Comment number 70.

    Oh dear. Yet another 'hack' trying to justify his salary, or to get paid as much as possible on a word-count basis.
    The mission of the BBC is to "inform, educate and entertain". This article does none of those things.
    The motto of the BBC is "Nation Shall Speak Peace Unto Nation". On the basis of this article, it should perhaps be modified to "Irrelevant Journalists Shall Speak Nonsense Until Sacked".
    P45s all round?!?!?!

  • Comment number 71.

    Well I think this first post-World Cup match squad shows some signs of England taking a step or two in the right direction; there are players in there that I, along with so many other Englishmen, was crying out for to be selected for the World Cup squad.

    I don't agree with the omission of Huddlestone and Baines at this stage, I know it's the first post-World Cup fixture for England and it's only a friendly at that, but still I feel they are owed this chance to prove themselves early in the rebuild simply to make up for Capello's plainly ludicrous decision to leave them at home this summer. So for me, basically I'd just change two things - drop Barry and Ashley Cole, recall Huddlestone and Baines - and I'd be happy with that squad for this game.

    I hope England play something other than a standard 4-4-2, it's simple yes, but nowadays it's mostly outdated and doesn't work too well at this elite level of football. I would like to see us playing with a similar system to that of Holland and Germany, a 4-2-3-1 or even 4-3-2-1 depending on the way we want to play and the personnel on the pitch it has a lot of promise and potential to work well. Similarly, 4-3-3 is a system that England must look into even if only as a 'change' option or Plan B of sorts to go for the win in difficult games. My starting line-up for the Hungary game this week would be something like the following:

    GK Robinson (first half, really pleased he's back, liked him previously)

    RB Johnson
    LB Kieran Gibbs
    CBs Dawson & Jagielka

    RM Ashley Young
    LM Adam Johnson
    ACM Gerrard (sort of pushing on into area behind strikers)
    CM Milner (kind of playing in a holding midfield role)

    FWDs Darrent Bent & Carlton Cole

    So the above would be something I could see Capello going with, it's a simple variation of 4-4-2 in as much as it's more a 4-3-1-2 with Gerrard sitting behind the strikers where he is more comfortable at club level. Alternatively I would be tempted to change it to 4-2-3-1 and have Bent or Rooney alone up front with Johnson, Gerrard and Young attacking behind him and Barry holding back with Milner.

  • Comment number 72.

    good to see that capello is looking to the future to some extent after the world cup, nevertheless some of the selections make little sense considering the 2014 world cup and beyond (wes brown, paul robinson, bobby zamora) whilst i am a fan of these particular players, in terms of producing a new era of successful england players perhaps other players should be examined at the international level. I fully accept the idea of blooding of the likes of keiran gibbs and luke wilshare at theis level. However, should they be selected then why should Jack Rodwell and Gabby Agbonlahor be left obmitted once more. This particular subject makes very little sense. One of the most versatile and naturally gifted midfielders of our genreation is objected in preference ofothers, whom in my opinion is a future england captain and the future of English football. As for Gabby Agbonlahor, a player with the pace, acceleration and cerebral finishing aka Michael Owen during the early 2000's why is he once more rejected from the england side?

  • Comment number 73.

    More than 90% of the players are to go...only Defoe, Gerard, Hart and Milner will remain. The inclusion of Arsenal youngsters and Zamora are terrific ideas because the youngsters can have time to improve their skills and performances. Zamora has been hungry and should have no problems but lets see how he actually does on an international stage. I think England does not have a shortage of midfielders, but its time to identify good holders and destroyers. England like Arsenal have to ponder their defensive options and tactics carefully, again the stoppers and sweepers have to have speed, tackling abilities and perhaps good ball distribution as well. Lastly, England players should have good team synergies and camarderie - if you see Spain and Holland, the players, irrespective of the clubs they come from, they seem to gel with good understanding and they work as if they represent a football club!

  • Comment number 74.

    Some new faces and some of the same old rubbish especially in midfield.
    2 months ago Walcott was of no use but now included.!!!!!
    Did anybody check to see if Scholes and Hargreaves might be available!!!!!!!!!
    Brown not for the future.Others too.

    This is the time to clean house a lot better and start building a new squad.

  • Comment number 75.

    It's OK everyone saying we have to start from scratch, but the fact is Fabio knows that if we don't qualify for Euro 2012 then there will be hell to pay.

    I think his squad shows a balance between youth and experience and given we are only just at the start of the season it's difficult to say who should be in there. It's a starting point anyway.

    The most important thing is to concentrate on the under-19s and make sure they get a good crack at some decent level football so that we have some decent players coming through the ranks. The FA need to take a good look at what Klinsmann did with Germany - he certainly had confidence in what he wanted to do, and more importantly he got people to listen.

  • Comment number 76.

    I agree with a lot you've said here, but...

    "Michael Dawson and James Milner were arguably the only two players whose reputations were enhanced in South Africa and both have vital roles to play for England over the next few years, in Dawson's case, perhaps as captain."

    Enhanced? Is this the same James Milner who played (and kicked out) like a headless chicken in the first group match? That wasn't commitment or quality, that was absolute rubbish. If a footballer earning in excess of 20K a week can't remember to keep his head and play FOR the team and not be a liability then he should suffer the same fate as those who have been deemed unworthy. Reputation enhanced? Not from where I'm at!

    Then you mentioned Gosling as a *MUST* for the near future... you must be related! The only thing he's ever done is score a goal while the adverts were on ITV! Hasn't he just shown a complete disregard for his (ex)club, and his previous (ex)club?

    He demanded to be played in the centre of midfield for Everton, meaning that David Moyes must drop either Mikel Arteta or Fellaini? Who in their right mind would even contemplate such a move? Ultimately he turned his back on an agreed contract and went on a free, removing the possibility of a much-earned fee for both Everton and Plymouth.

    To be an England footballer you need to have pride, commitment and loyalty. Neither of your recommendations cited here have these qualities at all. Milner has quality, but shows impetuous, arrogant, and ill-disciplined attitude towards the job in hand. Gosling, well there's another story, but what he has ever done to deserve and England call-up I really don't see at all.

  • Comment number 77.

    ChampioneLiverpool86 your comments about 'most football fans couldn't give a monkeys about International Football' are so far off the mark and indicative of the corporate view of football today that it is almost part of the problem with the English National Team. The fact that a huge amount of non-football people in this country came out in support of the English team totally negates your 'club' comments. The problem is simply put in terms of your attitude... that clubs supercede country in a climate of money and achievements. Look at the percentage of foreign players in the top 4 and you don't need to be Einstein to work it out. The problem really is that we have a system where clubs success is measured on income not on the production of homegrown talent, exciting football or success of the National Team. And one more thing... am I the only one to suspect that the Nike commercial (paid for in £millions) affected the inclusion of Rooney despite his abysmal performance from the very first game??

  • Comment number 78.

    I really hope that Capello is able to instill some hope in the young team, something it appears was drained from the previous team.
    I personally believe that we have a great youth set-up, thanks to Wenger in my honest opinion and i'm also hoping that in 3-4 years once Wenger departs Arsenal he is heading straight to the FA to become not only the England Manager but also the Uk's Director of football. This is from a 'citeh' fan.

  • Comment number 79.

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  • Comment number 80.

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  • Comment number 81.

    Ashley Cole and Glenn Johnson: play as wing backs in a 4-3-3
    Gerrard: plays off striker in a 4-3-3
    Lampard: CM in a 4-3-3
    Walcott: right wing in a 4-3-3
    Rooney: lone striker in a 4-3-3

    the upshot is, the top players, play in top premier teams in what is basically a 4-3-3. It is modern, and verging on european, but it is how everybody (good) is playing these days!

    Capello, fair enough, used his 4-4-2... ok, but don't try and cram those above players into the wrong system. What annoyed me is how the whole nation saw that the system wasn't working, and he just sat there, and stubbornly pushed at what he knew... time to break free and push the boundaries. I think we would all prefer to see him take some risks now (and maybe even play these players in the systems they are used to!)

  • Comment number 82.

    I for one will showno interest in any England football team ever again until Lampard and Gerrard are dropped permanently from the England team. Their entire presence is an insult to younger players trying to break in who must be given the chance.

    Those two players have horribly underperformed on almost every big occasion for the last god-knows-how-many years. And we have to keep putting up with it ?!!

    In Gods name tell them to go!!!!

  • Comment number 83.

    It will be the same old story.
    There is no great talent in the English squad, because there are no ball-players. Also the players, and Capello, are overpaid by a factor of 10

    There are too many foreign players which for non EU players can be rectified by FA legislation. And the TV Cash Cow can be reduced by government insisting that a number of Premier League matches be shown free.

  • Comment number 84.

    When so-called football fans abandon the habit of buying 99p shirts with their favourite players names for £45 from India and China, when Country supercedes Club, when we get back to supporting teams for the sake of supporting them rather than results, income and profit, then the English National Team may start getting results. Attitudes of Club over Country are so corporate, endemic and indicative of all that is that wrong with the beautiful game that all this talk of 4-4-2, Rooney over Defoe, Crouch v Heskey etc means nothing... keep talking but it will get you nowhere!

  • Comment number 85.

    And lastly! My 12 year old performs weekly with far more passion and commitment than any of the players I saw at SA 2010. We are teaching this attitude out of generation after generation of young players and it is a national disgrace. It's a shame that the BBC correspondents don't concentrate on the fundamental flaws in English football rather than on whether Barry should be a holding midfielder or whether Scott Parker should be in the squad etc

  • Comment number 86.

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  • Comment number 87.

    "Barry and Terry, in particular, are fortunate to remain after their quite awful displays against Germany, not to mention Terry's one-man rebellion after the draw against Algeria, but surely only Rooney will play in Brazil in 2014."

    Did I miss the qualifiers then?

  • Comment number 88.

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  • Comment number 89.

    Like many of the above comments, I agree that this 'overhaul' of the squad is ill-judged.

    Capello should have been even more ruthless in axing under-performing England 'stars'.

    Terry, Lampard, Barry and Gerrard were all severely lacking in the World Cup. There were various reasons for this I know, but their inclusion in the squad should not be considered as automatic.

    Terry and Lampard need to get back into form in the Premiership before they are considered again. Barry has proved that he's lacking in the fundamental qualities required at international level and Gerrard needs to discover his desire to play football again (after it was destroyed by Benitez).

    Much has been written about the England formation. It seems to me that the problem here is that the formation is decided upon and then players are drafted into the team to fit that formation (e.g. Gerrard playing on the wide left of midfield). Shouldn't it be the other way around? Why doesn't Capello look at the strengths of his players and devise a formation that accommodates them?

    We seem to be obsessed with having a holding player in midfield. As we aren't blessed with a world class player for that position (the likes of a Mascherano), why do we persist in trying to play someone there? It would be far better to have someone like Huddlestone sitting in that position and playing the 'quarterback' role. He has a Hoddle-like ability to be able to hit long balls with deadly accuracy and has superb vision. The wide players would benefit enormously from this and, in consequence, the strikers would get much better service.

  • Comment number 90.

    Axing the squad players whilst retaining the proven under performing over paid core of the so called 'Golden Generation' does not count as a squad overhall!

    Did Tom Huddlestone, Stephen Warnock feature for any significant time during the world cup?

    The disscussions about 'How can you not start with Peter Crouch?' pre WC seem along time ago and now he is an 'obvious casualty'.

    The inclusions of Zamora and Bent are laghable as a step forward. Bobby's song, sang by his own fans is well known as 'when you're sat in row Z and the ball hits your head, thats Zamora!'

    speed is highlighted in the article as the future, whos the fastest young English goal scoring striker with an improvement in goals scored year on year? Agbonlahor doesnt even make the squad despite keeping WC worthy Emile out of his club side.

    seem to remeber a lot of fuss about an arsenal youngster around 4 years ago who is yet to live up to the hype, lets not get carried away again.

  • Comment number 91.

    didnt mean to sound REALLY negative, lets build for the future without expecting too much too soon.

  • Comment number 92.

    Well, Mr Roan, you seem to inspire more loathing than Piers Morgan. Just a hot potato I guess??

    I suspect Capello's selection has quite a bit of EPL politics to it. Kick Lennon and SWP up the backside? 45 mins for Gerrard as fitness work? Hodgson won't mind. 45 mins for Gibbs, Wilshere? Wenger will be fine with that as both are probably not starters at Anfield. Try Dawson out with Ferdinand out? Few feathers ruffled there.....

    It's a good time to try a bit of youth out but it ain't the U21s........

  • Comment number 93.

    I don't want to bash the article but what was that all about.

    "And yet, however unpopular a game it may be, the England squad for it is a crucial one."
    I didn't even understand that.

    "None of Walcott, Johnson, or Young are unknown to England fans, but their recalls are evidence that Capello has learnt from the mistake of jettisoning the kind of young, fast, hungry players that did so well for Germany this summer."
    As far as I can remember almost all the British press were commending Capello's decision to leave out Walcott and its not like the pace of Lennon or Wright-Phillips actually did us any good.

    "Capello evidently feels that none of his world-class spine of John Terry, Ashley Cole, Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard or Wayne Rooney are expendable, and must be retained to qualify for Euro 2012, along with captain Rio Ferdinand once he is fit."
    If thats a world class spine than I'm Diego Maradonna.

    I hardly think the likes of Carrol(surely a joke mention) or Cattermole will be heralding in a brave new dawn.

    Dawson as captain? And what exactly is that based on? Me thinks you just needed to bolster your word count.

    I hate to be too critical but all in all a load of old tripe much like the England team.

  • Comment number 94.

    "The inclusions of Zamora and Bent are laghable as a step forward"

    Bent was the second highest english scorer in the premiership last season, only 2 goals behind Rooney. If he had the service Rooney had with the class at Man Utd then i suspect he would have scored a lot more. How is this "laughable as a step forward"

    Also to the author of the article. Yet again Darren Bent gets no credit or recognition. I suspect if he played for one of the top four teams his profile would be more prominent.

  • Comment number 95.

    Sorry, but there is a lot of tosh in this blog. One bad World Cup doesn't make the squad useless. I suspect that many of the players in the WC squad will continue to play for England for some years, despite their age - to suggest that Rooney is the only player that will go to Brazil is utter tripe; if anything it might be better that he doesn't go if he can't repeat his Premier League performances - but I'm sure he will.

    I still to this day can't understand the omission of Carlton Cole instead of Heskey, hopefully Capello will fix that; and Jermain Defoe has many years of goals in him still. Agree completely that the Johnsons from Man City, Joe Hart and some newer blood need a run out, but to destroy this squad and rebuild with just youth would be a mistake to my mind.

    Finally, it would be great if this country could get behind a manager rather than calling for his head every time England lose to a big rival - losing to Germany holds no shame; had the ball been a football rather than a helium balloon, things could have worked out very differently. Argentina copped it worse than us from the Germans, in fact they didn't even look like getting close, whereas we did.

    Support the manager, support the team - hopefully the FA & Prem league will do the same and listen to the best manager they've had in decades; the two Bobbies would tell you the same ...

  • Comment number 96.

    what a surprise!!?? NOT!! yet again capello has bottled it and included the likes of terry and gerrard (who were both totally useless and pathetic in south africa remember and terry was the driving force behind the reported disquiet!)
    it is time to get real and ditch the old timers and start afresh - but let's be honest, capello doesn't care - he has no respect for the three lions badge, as long as he gets his millions each year then he'll be happy.
    what a total waste of time.

  • Comment number 97.

    Sacking the manager rarely works, it was undoubtedly the England players that let England down at the World Cup -- who could have predicted that Terry, Lampard and Rooney would have been so abject?

    Yet you use the word "abject" to describe Emile Heskey, a man who, unlike Wayne Rooney, put some effort in for his country, created a goal and has believe it or not actually scored for his country in a World Cup finals.

    This strikes me as a popularist blog of the lowest order of wit. If the above isn't sufficient then mentioning Agbonlahor's exclusion as a negative would be sufficient proof. He happens to be injured, but as he doesn't play for a London team or one of the big four how would one expect you to know this?

    Poor stuff.

  • Comment number 98.

    "Capello's 23-man squad was chosen with one aim in mind: to win the World Cup. And who were we to doubt his selection?"

    I am surprised that you confess to not having a doubt about Capello's selection. The message boards were full of postings saying that England were QF material. To even talk about winning the World Cup, or a World Cup just shows how so-called 'knowledegeble' people like you are out of touch with the realities of football. England must be the only country where the regular fan easily knows a hell lot more about football that those who are paid to know.
    Selection to win the World Cup?? With a 'non-scoring striker' who had hardly be given a chance to prove his non-scoring pedigree by his club during the season leading up to the World Cup?
    Capello should not be doing football my friend, he should be playing footy with his grand kids in his back garden..

  • Comment number 99.

    Capello evidently feels that none of his world-class spine of John Terry, Ashley Cole, Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard or Wayne Rooney are expendable, and must be retained to qualify for Euro 2012, along with captain Rio Ferdinand once he is fit.


    Therein lies the problem. Enough said. "World-class": there you have it. The nation holds its breath. What a joke. How many people are sick and tired of hearing about one or two of these jokers in particular?

    The game is bloated with over-hyped and overpaid prima donnas run by an organisation which can't even sort out the crass behaviour towards officials, cynical cheating, the lack of sin-binning, let alone the use of technology. They COULD, but obviously don't want to. Why?

    Pay that Premiership 'spine' more ... after all, they have a short career.

  • Comment number 100.

    Rooney and the rest of the spine should watch a video of the All Blacks vs. Australia. Then think about commitment.


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