Sport Soccer

Saturday 24 March 2018

Capello hands Jones central role

Sam Wallace

FABIO CAPELLO is ready to pit Phil Jones against the best midfield in the world at Wembley tonight.

Jones will play a holding role, probably alongside Scott Parker, with Frank Lampard just ahead of the two.

Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta are daunting opposition, but Capello is a man in a hurry. He does not even feel that he can wait until Tuesday and the game against Sweden to give Jones his chance.

It was with a degree of exasperation that Capello explained his position.

"For me, these are important games (in which) to see the value of the players I have to select. These are difficult games. Spain and Sweden have different styles, completely different styles, and then the Dutch to come (in March)," he said. "I want to understand what will happen with the players I select when we go to play the really important games at the Euros.

"Those matches at the Euros will be more difficult. So I need to know the value of the players."

Capello was effusive in his praise of Jones, even mentioning Franco Baresi in the same sentence as the 19-year-old. To clarify that point he said that Baresi, the libero who was a mainstay of his first Milan team, was a better defender than Jones, but Jones was the better midfielder.

"I think he's got a lot of qualities, really good qualities. His potential is the top. You need quality to be able to do that. When he reaches the last metres near the box, his passing is really good," he said.

Otherwise, this is a team that will probably spend much of the game defending. That leaves Capello with a dilemma over his striker, with Darren Bent likely to get the nod over Danny Welbeck

England v Spain,

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