Monday 22 January 2018

FA to demand Capello explains lack of harmony in England camp

Seeing eye to eye? After John Terry criticised Fabio Capello's methods, Steven Gerrard (left) publically backed his boss Photo: Getty Images
Seeing eye to eye? After John Terry criticised Fabio Capello's methods, Steven Gerrard (left) publically backed his boss Photo: Getty Images

Paul Kelso and Henry Winter

Football Association board members will demand full disclosure of the reason for England’s dismal showing in South Africa, including an explanation for the apparent splits in the camp, before finally endorsing the remaining two years of Fabio Capello’s contract.

The board is expected to convene in advance of its scheduled July 15 meeting and is hopeful of receiving a detailed review of events at the World Cup.

There is a growing expectation that Capello will remain, but the board will demand to know what went wrong before confirming his position, possibly as early as next week.

Specifically members are concerned to know whether suggestions of disquiet between senior players in the camp contributed to the decline in England’s performances.

John Terry made his dissatisfaction with Capello’s preparations clear in a press conference halfway through the campaign, but he was quickly isolated by other players, including captain Steven Gerrard, who made it clear he still supported the manager.

Entirely unsubstantiated rumours about the nature of the tensions in the England camp have circulated online, prompting the News of the World to deny that a gagging order had been sought against the press by any member of the squad.

Despite these denials board members will seek clarity over the mood in the camp and its role in the poor performances before considering Capello’s fate.

Club England chairman Sir Dave Richards and managing director Adrian Bevington have been asked to prepare the review, and it is understood that general secretary Alex Horne will have a key role in working through the process.

The mood was captured by board member David Sheepshanks, who described England’s performances as “woeful” in a radio interview, but later confided in colleagues that his comments should not be interpreted as an endorsement of Capello — or a criticism.

“There are some very, very able and wise people around the FA board table and I have absolute confidence that they will come up with the right decision,’’ said Sheepshanks, who remains bemused by England’s hapless showing.

“I think everybody is at a loss [to explain it]. It was pretty woeful in the end and nobody can deny that. I’m not going to make any excuses, there will be a proper debrief with the FA over the coming days and weeks.

“Fabio is tremendously able – one of the world’s best managers – and a month ago I don’t think you’d have heard many people disagree with that.

"He doesn’t become a bad manager overnight and I think everybody should be very measured in their considerations. Everybody wants someone to blame.’’

Richards is also facing pressure over his role in the removal of an escape clause in Capello’s contract, meaning compensation of upwards of £5m would be payable should England seek a fourth new coach in as many years.

The need for stability as well as prudence is one of the factors working in Capello’s favour, and there is a growing expectation that he will stay.

Meanwhile, Ireland could face England in Dublin this year for the first time since rioting fans forced the abandonment of a friendly at Lansdowne Road in 1995.

The FAI has been in contact with the English FA about a fixture in November.

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