Capello delivers warning to squad over lurid press
Fabio Capello yesterday warned the England squad that he does not want to read any more stories about their private lives in the media.
The England manager gathered the players in the centre of one of the pitches at Arsenal's London Colney training ground to say that they would otherwise be jeopardising their World Cup chances. Capello will hold a more formal meeting with the players today, ahead of tomorrow's friendly against Egypt, at which he will reinforce the point of what he expects from now until the end of the season -- both on and off the pitch.
But his primary concern is an end to the lurid stories which have undermined England's preparations, centring on the conduct of the now former captain John Terry and his Chelsea team-mate Ashley Cole. Terry was among the 24 players addressed by Capello yesterday -- Cole is out injured -- although the manager made no specific reference to him or his decision to strip the central defender of the armband.
The meeting was private, and only Capello and the players were there, with the manager deliberately taking them away from the rest of his staff.
He is believed to have told them: "From now until the World Cup you must be careful about your personal behaviour and your personal life. I do not want you to give any newspaper or news reporter the chance to write anything about you."
Capello is understood not to have dwelled on the issue any further but his message, delivered politely, left none of those present in any doubt about his seriousness. The players then broke into two groups -- with those who played on Sunday going through a warm-down and the rest taking part in a light training session.
Terry was, understandably, said to be subdued and quieter than normal during the day and in training but Capello is thought to believe this is no bad thing. The manager also believes that taking Terry out of the Chelsea environment may help him, given the intense scrutiny he and his club have been under of late. After lunch the England squad underwent a series of crucial "altitude" tests in preparation for the conditions they will face in most of South Africa and in the pre-tournament training camp in Austria.
It must have been a surreal experience for Ryan Shawcross, given this was the Stoke City defender's first call-up to the senior squad. Shawcross also has to deal with the scrutiny over his challenge on Aaron Ramsey, which broke the Arsenal midfielder's leg in two places. He has received support throughout football and Alex Ferguson phoned the former Manchester United trainee on Sunday to urge him not to withdraw from the England squad. Shawcross was said to be inconsolable as a result of Ramsey's injury, with Stoke manager Tony Pulis revealing: "Alex rang Ryan after the game to give him his support and told him that he shouldn't miss out on England duty." (© Daily Telegraph, London)