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Alan Green: Capello’s uncertainty is a big worry for England supporters


Fabio Capello

Fabio Capello

Fabio Capello

Just when we all thought Fabio Capello was the Margaret Thatcher of international football — ‘not for turning’ — England’s Italian coach seems to be throwing his rule book out of the window.

Remember that bit about only selecting players that were fully fit, in form and playing regularly? It’s as if we must have imagined hearing those words looking at his provisional squad of 30 for the World Cup.

Now I appreciate Rio Ferdinand is too important a player not to include despite persistent problems but I’m told Gareth Barry has very little chance of recovering from the ankle injury he sustained in that ‘Champions League play-off’ against Spurs. In any case, the Manchester City player has hardly been in tip-top form; like Michael Carrick (soon to be discarded by Sir Alex), Theo Walcott, Shaun Wright Phillips and Jermain Defoe.

As for Emile Heskey — next to no games or goals for Aston Villa — his presence is almost inexplicable and he’ll be in the team never mind the final squad of 23!

I don’t get either the inclusion of Jamie Carragher. I’ve always been a fan of the whole-hearted Liverpool defender but, truth be told, he’s had a poor season even if not quite as poor as his club. And he HATES playing full-back if Capello has included him as ‘back up’ there. You can bet too that Carragher wouldn’t have tolerated his recall merely to be in the 30: he’s been promised a place in South Africa.

My concern over Capello isn’t limited to his choice of squad. What on earth was he thinking about lending his name to that ‘index’ regarding player performances during the World Cup? Doesn’t he already get paid ample running the England team?

Mercifully, it’s now been postponed until next season but why did it take the Football Association so long to wake up to the inherent dangers. Imagine the impact on, say, Wayne Rooney finding out his coach had only ‘marked’ him a 5 out of 10 against the United States? It really beggars belief.

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There’s more. Capello, it seems, is now considering changing the system and suddenly thinks about the merits or otherwise of playing three centre backs — it might partly explain the inclusion of Carragher.

Now I happen to believe that Glen Johnson, who can’t ‘defend’ to save his life, and Ashley Cole are both well equipped to play as wing-backs but I cannot think of any sustainable argument why all this should change a matter of weeks before the tournament kicks off. It’s crazy not to have been experimenting along such lines the minute qualification was assured. And now he wants David Beckham as a COACH.

No, I don’t think Capello is turning into a barn-pot or a poor coach overnight but the uncertainty has me worried particularly given that England’s only chance of lifting the trophy, in my view, rests on their key players being on top form and knowing precisely what they’re doing. We’ll see.