Sport Soccer

Tuesday 20 March 2018

Capello to wield axe on England's senior stars

Jason Burt

Fabio Capello will carry out a radical overhaul of the England squad once qualification for Euro 2012 is secured after deciding that too many senior players have failed to recover from the disappointment of last year's World Cup.

The England manager is hoping to go into next summer's tournament in Poland and Ukraine with a younger squad -- or at least one not tainted by the events of South Africa -- with question marks over the likes of Frank Lampard, Gareth Barry, James Milner, Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch.

Capello has decided that he has to create a new England without the baggage of previous failures. He has concluded that the only chance of success is to make changes. His mind was finally made up following the disappointing display against Wales at Wembley on Tuesday.

England won 1-0, which means they now only need a point from their final qualifier away to Montenegro next month to qualify, but Capello was angry at the lacklustre performance.

Lampard, Barry and Milner all started the match, but their futures are in doubt. They will not all be left out, but Capello will use warm-up games, set to include matches against Spain and Holland, to blood young players in the hope that they will be less inhibited.

Lampard did not start against Bulgaria last Friday, but was in the XI that faced Wales, earning an 88th cap, and afterwards the 33-year-old said he was unconcerned about questions over his England future. However, he added, pointedly: "When I play at Chelsea every week, I get respect and understanding of what I'm trying to do there. That's all I care about."

The midfielder said he had no intention of retiring from international football. "There is only two ways I won't play for England: a) if I don't get picked, which is fair enough, and b) if I found it beneficial to my long-term career on the Chelsea front. But I'll give everything I can while I can.

"People can talk about my age for as long as they like. There is nothing better in football than proving people wrong.

"I understand at 38-40 years of age I won't be playing for England, but I'd rather be sitting on the settee thinking: 'I gave everything to play while I could' rather than thinking: 'I ducked out and could have done a bit more'." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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