Capello: Money at the root of evil in my squad
Fabio Capello said yesterday that the misdemeanours in the private lives of England's top players were a result of them having too much money, too young and admitted that he had never before in his career faced a problem like the John Terry scandal.
England play their first game since Terry was stripped of the captaincy tonight against Egypt at Wembley with Capello having conceded that the lavish Premier League lifestyle of the top earners does affect their behaviour.
"They have to be an example to the children, for all the fans," Capello said. "For that reason, they have to be careful all the time and make sacrifices in their lives. Young players, young boys, rich boys -- this is the problem."
Although Capello said that the culture of excess was a problem "in Italy, in Germany, in Spain, in every country where football is so important", he did say that he had never encountered anything quite like the scandal over Terry's alleged affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the ex-fiance of Wayne Bridge.
"In Spain, one player went to the disco to have a drink, but I did not have big problems between different players, different girls, different women."
Capello said that he believed it was not too much to ask the players to behave themselves. "I think it's normal for me (to expect certain standards of behaviour). This is my idea. It's normal life for a sportsman, for the players. You have to be careful at every moment in your life, no?"
Capello was far happier discussing matters on the pitch, offering an interesting statement that he would never -- "No, never" -- consider playing Wayne Rooney as a lone striker.
"My style is always two forwards," he said, while dismissing suggestions that Steven Gerrard -- confirmed as the captain tonight in Rio Ferdinand's absence -- could play as a second striker. That notion was scotched before by Capello after it failed in England's friendly against France in March 2008. "Steve will play like a midfielder who goes forward," Capello said.
So, who will partner Rooney against Egypt? From training, the indications were Peter Crouch, but Capello was not biting on that one. He may well stick with Emile Heskey to continue his partnership with Rooney although he went on to list eight of England's starters. "Terry, Rooney, Gerrard, Walcott, Upson, Brown, Barry, Lampard, yes." That leaves three places -- striker, left-back and goalkeeper, England's three problem areas, some would say -- unconfirmed.
Again from training it would appear that Leighton Baines may be offered a start at left-back ahead of Stephen Warnock -- although the chances are both will play some part, with Robert Green or David James replaced in goal by Joe Hart, possibly at half-time.
Walcott's inclusion confirms Capello's insistence on having at least one pacy midfielder in his team and with Aaron Lennon injured, the Arsenal winger starts even though the manager admitted he is struggling for form.
"The last game (for Arsenal) he played not so bad," Capello said. "For that reason, he's here because he's one of our very important players."
Terry's form has been a concern -- goals conceded by Chelsea against Everton, Inter Milan and Manchester City could be directly attributed to him -- but Capello mounted a staunch defence of his former captain.
"The form of John Terry is good. He's here without problems. I follow him during the training. It's really, really good," he said. "I hope that the fans don't boo John Terry. But you have to think that John Terry is one part of the team, and an important player for us."
There is expected to be a private conversation between Capello -- who has also spoken twice to Ryan Shawcross to reassure him after the injury to Aaron Ramsey -- and Terry, although it will not be one in which the manager goes over old ground. He wants to look forward. (© Daily Telegraph, London)