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Barnes urges players to believe in Capello

Former England midfielder John Barnes feels Fabio Capello's players will be boosted at the World Cup by the belief fans have shown in the Italian coach.

Capello names his final 23-man England squad later today for the tournament in South Africa which gets under way in 10 days.

The Italian has overseen an impressive World Cup qualifying campaign since succeeding Steve McClaren, whose England side failed to make it to Euro 2008.

Barnes - who played in the 1986 and 1990 World Cups under Bobby Robson - is confident Capello has the nation's full backing going into the tournament, which he believes will give the players the best possible chance of achieving success.

"I think the most important thing about this World Cup is that the whole nation - in terms of the fans, the press, the whole country - is convinced that Fabio is the man for the job," Barnes told Press Association Sport.

"That helps because it can go onto the field if there are any doubts about the manager.

"With Steve McClaren, Graham Taylor and even Bobby Robson it has been unfortunate in the past.

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"I have had full faith in all of them but some members of the media and the fans were not fully behind them and did not believe in them.

"So that is a great starting point for the team - everybody thinks Fabio is the best man for us."

There has been plenty of talk about the importance of Wayne Rooney to England's hopes of glory, but Barnes feels the Manchester United striker should not be singled out too much.

"People talk about Wayne Rooney and he is a very important player, one of the best players in the world," said Barnes, who won 79 international caps.

"But if we just focus on the fact that we have Rooney and think that without him we can't win the World Cup, then we will not win the World Cup.

"If Kaka got injured tomorrow, Brazil would still believe they can win the World Cup.

"If Fernando Torres or David Villa got injured, Spain would still believe they can win it. That is what you have to do.

"To win the World Cup you need a good team and it is doing a disservice to players like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry and Ashley Cole (to focus too much on Rooney).

"In England we like to focus on individuals and that has been to England's detriment in the past."


Barnes was talking at the unveiling of six young Special Olympics Great Britain footballers who have been selected to lead out the England team as flag bearers at the World Cup match against Algeria on June 18. The youngsters are part of the Unified Football Programme, where players with and without learning disabilities practise and play together on seven-a-side teams.

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