Fabio Capello shock tactics to keep the team in the dark
By Henry Winter
Last Updated: 12:56 am GMT 26/03/2008
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Fabio Capello has held court in France's most elegant hotel yesterday, sitting in a room of the George V, surrounded by magnificent murals of cavorting cherubs. The servers passed in haste a restaurant offering three Michelin stars. Russian oligarchs wandered past the quest for luxury spa. England were in a comfort zone and challenging their Italian coach would shake them out of it.
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England players have discovered only one certainty and that Capello is to wait uncertainty. Only the casting of Billy Elliot, were kept on their toes. Take the Master. The competition for England seems a right cuff scrap between a natural leader, John Terry, and a more influential player, Steven Gerrard. Or so everyone thought.
Fabio Capello shock tactics to keep the team in the dark
This is not a joke: Fabio Capello is in England outside their comfort zone
During lunch yesterday, Capello stood up and announced: "The captain against France will be Rio Ferdinand." And sitting again. Do not worry. No explanation. As Jonathan Woodgate observed at the weekend: with his former coach of Real Madrid, it is a case of "my way or the highway." Capello The sight of all players in the field reporting bad for a convivial moment confirms suspicion that all believe they are on trial.
"We all tried, not only players," countered Capello. "We need to get back to be a great team that plays openly against any opponent. This is not to be tried, but the pride to wear the shirt." Capello is a challenge the players, stirring by the shaking.
The George V spa contains many treatments, but no guarantee of purging the system so radical Capello shock tactics. Terry and Gerrard know they must perform for every second of every minute of every international if they are to be reconsidered for the Captaincy long term.
"I'll turn masters," Capello promised. "I'll have a permanent captain of August [in preparation for the start of the 2010 World Cup qualifying in September]. Until then, Terry has a chance to be captain. "But then, Gareth Barry, Aston Villa, whose leader determined ball-winning and the intelligent use of possession is known to have impressed Capello.
If Gary Neville continued his welcome return from injury, gets his place Manchester United and then again joined the England fraternity, it could raise the cuff. No one knows. But make no mistake: Capello is deliberately foster insecurity to sharpen the edge of the blunted, tarnished Golden Generation.
Astucieuse, as England took the opportunity of Ferdinand moment of glory yesterday to send another message to the players: the history of bunk. If they delivered for Capello now, the achievement on and off the field, giving everything against quick-minded, fast-moving and opponents french then clear direction on the first page stigma, they have a chance.
Ferdinand made a case study in a timely manner. Expulsées of past squads alcopop induced madness, even for a tournament next to a drug test, the defender has matured and deserves his shot at redemption. "I know," said Capello strongly when we inevitably result of Ferdinand de transgressions. "But the past is the past. From what I saw in games I've been watching him play, and within five days that I had with him train me, I saw a very good professional . I think it can be a very good captain of England. "
Ferdinand is held in high esteem by management, not least Capello assistant Franco Baldini, who examined the defender of purchase for Roma during the player West Ham days. Those who expose Ferdinand to be handed wear an armband with such distinction by Billy Wright, Bobby Moore, Terry Butcher will remember and others should consider some realities. No member of the team, perhaps in most previous ones, not more varied in the community, many Prince's Trust appearances in the campaign against knife crime following the murder of Damilola Taylor and Stephen Lawrence.
High on a succession of Peckham, south London, Ferdinand became an impressive model. Equally important, the cuff means something to him and his pride in honour deducted him was palpable yesterday. Equally significantly, Ferdinand England must convince sceptics to argue that it is authentic captaincy equipment in the long term.
"A captain must be an example to follow in training and a leader during the game," noted Capello. "I wish it could be a model outside the game - in life - as well. It's very important, always. We must be role models when we are playing for England and when we play for our clubs. A Part of this rightly play and respect towards the referee and the public. "
Respect, respect, respect. The word on the timing of England Premier League followed in France. Capello has talked to his players the importance of restraint in emotional situations, but rejected the suggestion that Terry has been neglected after the Chelsea man irritating tendency to debate incident with all the arbitrators.
"I was not put under any pressure," said Capello. "All the decisions I made, technical or otherwise, were my decisions. My choice. I have my own eyes. I can understand things for myself. "The message was clear: FA Capello could ask to use the whistle Dixie, and he may wonder what Dixon has done for a reminder. Capello is Robo-Coach. His way or a highway.
Last night, the players have not an idea that started against France. Some of them could sleep easy, as David James, Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Barry, Gerrard, Joe Cole and Wayne Rooney, knowledge of a shirt numbered 1-11 would be handed over to them at the Stade de France. Terry and Glen Johnson should also be included. But Frank Lampard to begin before midfielder Owen Hargreaves, a more natural anchorage accomplice Barry? Would Hollywood's David Beckham force only star of the Premier League, the north-west, David Bentley? Will Gerrard support Rooney? Capello has hinted that much, using a framework in which the Beatles once refined their muse to act on the merits of a Fab Two raised near Strawberry Fields. But as for Capello true intentions tonight, England glitterati simply do not know.
Capello about Beckham
Italy will inform this afternoon, shortly before boarding the bus to the Stade de France. England players are directed towards an age of enlightenment, first kept in the dark. Take Beckham. "Goldenballs" will receive his 100th cap today, but he must earn it.
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