Belfast Telegraph

Capello insists he is right to leave out England's famous five

By Simon Stone

Fabio Capello has defended his decision to send five key men back to their clubs ahead of England's sell-out friendly with Ghana at Wembley tonight.

The Football Association confirmed on Sunday that Chelsea trio John Terry, Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard had returned to Stamford Bridge, Wayne Rooney had gone back to Manchester United and Michael Dawson was heading to Tottenham after starting Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifying win over Wales.

It is a move that leaves Capello open to accusations of bias given the 20 players left — Aston Villa's Kyle Walker has been ruled out through injury — are all equally important to their own clubs.

Yet the Italian insists he is not favouring England's Champions League representatives, even though another, Aaron Lennon, was sent home last night as a precaution after experiencing some discomfort in his hamstring.

“I decided the five players to let go because they had just played four games in 10 days,” said an unrepentant Capello.

“I respect the players and the clubs and I have done this because the players are important for the national team and the clubs.

“The players in the Premier League are only playing three games, not four. This is a big difference.”

In fact, Capello is incorrect as Tottenham's Champions League decider with AC Milan took place a week before Chelsea and Manchester United were able to secure their last eight berths.

Nevertheless, the England boss feels he is making a point by retaining Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe, who will all hope to play a part in Spurs' mouthwatering quarter-final first leg encounter with Real Madrid next Tuesday.

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