Saturday 10 December 2016

Capello faces down critics as England ring changes

Sam Wallace

Published 29/03/2011 | 05:00

Seventy-two hours in the life of Fabio Capello. His team plays well on Saturday and beats Wales in Cardiff to go top of its Euro 2012 qualification group.

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Capello announces that he will make 11 changes -- it turns out it will be fewer -- to the team for tonight's friendly against Ghana. Six players including John Terry, Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole go home. Cue uproar on behalf of England fans.

Here is the position the England manager finds himself in. Had he kept all those players, like Terry and Rooney, who are playing in the Champions League next week, he might have been subjected to another storm like that kicked up by Liverpool when Steven Gerrard played 90 minutes against France in November. So Capello rests them, but criticism increases.

Fault

Capello has had a bad few weeks, but having to rest key players for a friendly is not his fault.

He said yesterday that if the Wales game had been scheduled for tomorrow, not Saturday, he would have told the FA not to organise a friendly at the weekend.

It is not like Capello is taking on Ghana with a team of jokers. Jack Wilshere looks a good bet to start. Andy Carroll is an intriguing addition in attack; he will be replaced at half-time by Peter Crouch.

There are some issues on which the England manager has blundered. The captaincy cock-up and yesterday's admission he only needs 100 words of his imperfect English to communicate with his players were wince-inducing.

But he is obliged to lead England to Euro 2012, not to play friendlies with full-strength teams at the demand of the 'paying public'. (© Independent New Service)

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