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Capello dismisses notion his days as coach numbered

Fabio Capello intends to see his England job through until the end of Euro 2012.

The Three Lions tackle Montenegro this evening needing a point to book their place at next summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine.

Yet there are some within the English Football Association who feel that should mark the end of his time as England coach and a replacement needs to be brought in prior to next summer.

Others within the FA hierarchy have dismissed the notion as nonsense.

And clearly, as Capello prepared himself for a test of nerve in Podgorica, the Italian is going nowhere.

"Absolutely. I've got a contract," said Capello, when asked whether he would definitely remain in his job to Euro 2012.

"It is my desire to be the manager at the Euros."

If the quest is completed successfully, Capello will allow himself a drink on the flight back to Luton, and offer some words of congratulation to the players and backroom staff who have made it possible.


But deep down, the England coach will know a bigger challenge, maybe the greatest of his entire career, will face him next summer.

"Life is about challenges," he said.

"I decided everything as a challenge. All the games are a challenge.

"When I changed teams, it's always about taking on a new challenge.

"In life, you have to find something that's exciting and challenging."

After a week of deliberation, Capello appears to be leaning towards Bobby Zamora as Wayne Rooney's strike partner.

Teenager Phil Jones is in line for his debut at right-back unless the 65-year-old has a last minute change of heart and opts for Phil Jagielka instead for what Capello hopes will be his final qualifier. So far, he has lost just the one, in Dnepr, Ukraine, two years ago when a World Cup berth was already assured and Robert Green got himself sent off after 10 minutes.

A second reverse would open up all kinds of scenarios, ranging from qualification anyway, as group winners or the best runner-up, to a rather awkward two-legged play-off in which the Republic of Ireland could turn out to be a very attractive showdown.

Better to get the job done immediately, which means showing infinitely more focus than England managed ahead of the lucky escape against Wales last month, of which Capello was so critical.

"I hope they're okay," he said.

"The mental side is really important. I saw the players these two days and they have been really focused. I hope I will see the same tonight."