More Capello Excuses

“When we had a meeting to decide the dates for the games, all the teams decided June was not the best time to play. But Wales and Montenegro fought about when to play different games, so we had to have a draw and that said we should play now. By the time we reached the last 10 minutes we didn’t have any energy. It was really warm. If it was a fresher day, we might have found it easier to recover.”

Can someone please remind me how much the FA are paying Fabio Capello to come up with pathetic excuses like that?

The fact that England players don’t appear to be fit enough to perfrom in the month of June is probably not the fault of Capello, but surely he has to take some responsibility for the bizarre team selections he made yesterday.

Ashley Young’s ommision was a surprise, Capello’s explanation for this was also a bit confusing “Ashley Young played very well in the second half but if he had played in the first, I don’t know if he would have been the same in the second,” he said. Hmmm, that makes a lot sense!

Working on that brand of Capello logic, then why don’t we leave Wayne Rooney on the bench for the next qualifier and bring him on at half time, or when we go 2-0 down?

Both Ashley Young and Stewart Downing can consider themselves unlucky not too have started yesterday. Downing has been in great from for Villa, while Young has impressed in his recent England performances. Nothing against James Milner, but what has he done recently to justify starting ahead of them both? And Theo Walcott for that matter.

No problems from me with the rest of the team selections, nor the decision to haul Frank Lampard off at half time, if players aren’t performing then they deserve to be dropped or pulled off. Just because you are a big name doesn’t mean you can’t be subbed.

But the main point here is that blaming the result on the fact that the game was played in June just isn’t good enough. If Capello can’t come up with anything better than that, then why doesn’t he show some dignity and just admit he isn’t up to the job and walk.

When will Fabio Capello Finally Leave Us?

Tomorrow isn’t soon enough for me after hearing his latest hairbrained scheme to reinstate John Terry as full time England captain ahead of the Wales game.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an anti Terry rant, I have my opinions on Terry and I admit I don’t like him, but this is purely about Capello’s incompetence to manage England. I don’t doubt that Terry is a good captain, whether he should or shoudn’t be again is not the debate here.

The debate is Capello’s poor handling of these situations. He seems to have no people skills whatsoever and his capacity to continually make a mountain out of a molehill never ceases to amaze me.

We had the Capello index, the orders not to do contract negotiations in the build up to the world cup while he was doing his own, the calamitous goalkeeping situation at the world cup, the world cup team announcements 5 minutes before boarding the coach, asking Emile Heskey to come out of international retirement and getting snubbed, the numerous misunderstandings and disrespecting of David Beckham, need I go on?

As I wrote earlier, this isn’t anything against John Terry. I also understand that we can’t go on having the armband moved around like ‘pass the parcel’ in friendlys anymore. But there must be another alternative to the problem, than just simply sacking Ferdinand.

For example, start the game with your full time captain, or if not available then a senior pro will do, let him captain for the first half. Before the match designate another senior pro or a young up and coming player with a big future for England, leave him on the bench and give him the armband for the second half.

It surely can’t be that difficult or complicated to sort out. But no, Capello has to take his usual sledgehammer to crack a nut approach.

It is yet another staggering failure of Capello’s non exisitent man-management skills. How are Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard going to feel about this? They have effectively been sacked by Capello for what looks to me, like no reason whatsoever.

What is that going to do for the England teams dressing room morale?

Capello has now succeeded in annoying another two of his senior players, he may well also be risking splitting the camp again with Terry’s reappointment. I really can’t see any logical reason at all for doing this.

If he wanted to move all three on for a new younger captain, then fine, I could understand that. But what is the point in humiliating Ferdinand in this manner?

I don’t believe that Capello has thought this through at all, what is he supposed to do now if Terry gets injured or is unavailable for a match? Ask Rio to do it again?

The sooner this man leaves our national team the better. He just seems to bungle from one calamity to another, has anyone got any confidence left in this man?

Judging by the number of international retirements he has suffered, not many players have.

Just go now and do us all a favour.

Adrian Bevington emerges at last

After been virtually invisable over the last week during Fabio Capello’s latest PR Gaffes, ‘Club England’ managing director, Adrian Bevington finally emerged to appear on BBC Radio 5 Live Sportsweek’s programme over the weekend to claim that the next England manager will be English.

His quote “I think the English team should be managed by an English manager,” appeared to be a future generalization rather than a direct threat to Fabio Capello’s job. Although, after the week Capello has just had, the future, could be sooner rather than later.

I don’t want to be seen as a typical FA basher, as I’m not one. But there does appear to be eliments of the press and media out there that blames the FA for taxes and bad weather, etc, and sometimes you can see why. Personally, considering their remit – to cover football from local Sunday league level, right up to the England team – I don’t think they do that bad a job.

The problem they seem to have is seperating the professional side of the game, from the amateur side. This whole idea of creating ‘Club England’ to keep it apart from general duties would be good one if it was run properly and professionally, but the problem is that it appears to not be run professionally.

Bevington was invisable last week during the Beckham furore. This is also not the only time recently that ‘Club England’ seem to have disappeared.

Where were they during the whole issue of the embarrassing Capello index? Also, why was Capello allowed to engage in public haggling over his new contract in the build up to the world cup, when he had stated none of his players were to do this?

And then get his contract as well. Who’s fault that is, is a debate in itself.

Then we had the lack of direction after the world cup fiasco when Sir Dave Richards stated he wanted two weeks to decide if he wanted to keep Capello, while the shameless Italian pissed off on a seemingly never ending holiday.

Then it was announced – coincidently the day after Roy Hodgson took the Liverpool job – that Capello would stay on as England manager. Another example of lack of direction.

All this is just basic stuff. This isn’t going anywhere near the real issues of developing young talent and a coaching system for the future, all duties that the FA is responsible for. On this evidence the chances of ever creating a system like the Spanish one, or Dutch one, throughout the Premier League is light years away.

At the moment the FA are residing over a great football stadium with no pitch. An England manager that can’t even communicate in English, with no people skills, who conned them into giving him a new ‘money-for-old-rope’ contract, with a potential £12 million payout to get rid of him.

They have Dave Richards involved who apparently presided over Capello’s contract fiasco. Sir Trevor Brooking, who dosen’t seem capable of getting any of his ideas taken seriously or on board.

They have a Prince as their diplomatic figurehead who rarely shows his face, most English football fans would probably be surprised to find out he has anything to do with the FA. One year he couldn’t even be bothered to turn up for the FA cup final. And he has also been invisable in the 2018 campaign, they might as well give David Beckham his job, he has already shown more commitment to the cause.

This simply isn’t good enough. So come on FA, pull your fingers out and get this sorted, or step aside and let someone more suited do the job have a go.

Capello does it again

The announcement from Fabio Capello that David Beckham is now apparently too old to be considered for England selection would appear to be yet another strange decision and PR gaffe from the Italian.

I’m not sure if this is a break down in translation, or a complete lack of respect from Capello, either way it is a bit of a PR disaster.

If it is a translation issue, it just further proves the theory that Capello can’t communicate properly with his players. I really hope they understand him better than I do, as I still can’t understand what he is trying to say in his press conferences or TV interviews.

Also, if it is true that Capello left it to Franco Baldini to call Beckham to inform him of the decision, then that is a total disgrace. Dosen’t Beckham deserve to be treated with a bit more respect than this? I think he certainly does.

No doubt Beckham will maintain his usual high level of dignity throughout this, he generally does. In the meantime we can only wait and see who Capello upsets next with his appalling man-management skills.

Fabio Capello’s Press Conference

Was I the only person who thought this was a total joke?

Capello’s lack of English was there for all to see and hear. The sight of Adrian Bevington having to interupt proceedings to clarify what Capello was trying to say was alarming to say the least.

It just confirmed that Capello struggles to express himself with his pigeon English. If he can’t communicate properly with the media, then why should we believe he can communicate properly with his players.

Surely he can’t! And it showed on the pitch.

One off his answers that I could understand was his excuse that England’s players were tired. I thought this was a disgraceful remark. England weren’t good enough, both he and the players. Never mind we were tired, or the ref robbed us.

It was disappointing that Capello didn’t appear to have the guts to admit that both he and his team simply weren’t good enough.

The news that David Richards wants two weeks to decide on Capello’s future buys the FA some time to decide what to do. As the FA have backed themselves into another cul-de-sac with Capello’s contract, it will be interesting to see if their decision is a footballing one, or a financial one.

It’s the Germans again

England’s reward for scraping through the group stages is a Sunday showdown with old foes Germany. It was a better performance from England today, but they will have to up their game to get past the well drilled Germans in the last 16.

Despite only beating Slovenia 1-0, England could really have had four or five. I thought they looked very anxious before Defoe gave them the lead after 22 minutes, it’s amazing what a decent cross can do for a team, isn’t it Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips!

In the end I suppose we have to give Capello credit, his two tactical changes worked as they both combined to make and score the goal. Capello even showed he is prepared to be flexible with his team, when he brought Jo Cole on for Rooney in the 72 minute and played Cole off the front man.

One negative though, is the decision to still leave Gerrard stuck out on the left. Although the skipper had a better game today, I still believe you have to play your best players in their best positions, unleashing Gerrard in a more attcking role would suit him better.

The bookmakers make England the marginal favourites at 17/10 with William Hill, Germany are 15/8 with Totesport and the Draw is 23/10 with Ladbrokes.

After what was a pretty crap non entertaining group, I now can’t wait for Sunday.

Peace breaks out in England camp

John Terry says he’s sorry, Fabio says Terry is “one of the most important players”, and then Fabio and Steven Gerrard present a united front at the evening press conference, could peace be breaking out in the England camp?

I certainly hope so, because they need to be as one on Wednesday.

I see that the pitch in Port Elizabeth is apparently a disgrace, it sounds like they have imported in Wembleys famous turf for this match. This should surely be to England’s advantage now.

The stories doing the rounds now is that Aaron Lennon and Emile Heskey are to be dropped for James Milner and Jermaine Defoe, along with Matthew Upson coming in for the suspended Jamie Carragher, they are rumoured to be Capello’s only team changes.

Did John Terry’s public calling for a place in the team for Joe Cole cost Joe a starting place? We will probably never know, but I doubt it.

If the reported team is correct then Capello clearly still sees no reason to abandon the bulk of the system that got his team to the finals in the first place, the players opinions would appear to have been ignored.

I just hope that if things aren’t going ok during the game, that this time Capello makes game changing substitutions before the 84th minute. His reluctance to change anything during the Algeria game was notable, and surely any manager worth his salt will have noticed that Capello didn’t try anything different until he brought Crouch on for Barry 6 minutes from time.

Shaun Wright-Phillips for Lennon, and Defoe for Heskey didn’t really alter the team or system, we just got a different face making the same mistakes.

Capello clearly likes something about SWP, he took him ahead of Theo, and has used him ahead of Joe Cole in both games to date. Another player he clearly likes is James Milner.

Both seem to be ahead of Joe Cole in Fabio’s pecking order, but it would appear that the majority of the public and pundits in England think that Cole deserves a chance. I would like to see him start, but clearly Capello likes his two up front, and that means no room for Cole.

I think he could fit into the 4-4-2 system though, I’m sure he could do no worse down the right hand side than Lennon has so far. Ok, so his defensive play might not be the best, but England have to gamble a bit now as they need to win.

Will England do an Italia 90 now, and salvage their world cup dream to fight another day? Or will we get a Sweden 92 scenario where we go out of the competition with a wimper along with some strange substitutions and team selections?

The time for messing around has gone now. I want to see Capello release the shackles off Steven Gerrard and make some bold tactical changes and substitutions during the match if things aren’t going well, and making these changes before the hour mark to give them time to take effect.

It’s time to ditch the Italian negative approach and get some English up-and-at-em attitude into this team.

John Terry’s Big Mistake

Was it just Fabio Capello’s pigeon English being misinterpreted? Or is Fabio laying down the law and sending John Terry a serious message not to cross him again?

After watching Capello’s TV interview myself, I am strongly of the belief that it was a serious warning to Terry. And it leaves me wondering what future Terry might have in an England team under Capello, should he remain as manager after the world cup.

All day on TV and Radio the debate has raged about Terry’s Press conference. Matt Lawton of the Daily Mail gave his take that Terry is still bitter about losing the captaincy, and that he saw this as his big chance to take revenge on Capello.

I’m no big fan of Terry, but I really can’t buy that one. But if it is true, then he should be dumped by England forever. For me the whole affair has left me with more questions than answers.

Did John Terry speak for all the players he named during his Sunday press conference? If so, has he not been badly let down by these players who have now apparently not backed him?

If he didn’t have the backing of the players to say it, then it is yet another massive misjudgement on the part of Terry.

Also why didn’t he back up what he said, later in the team meeting?

Has he now undermined captain Steven Gerrard?

If he didn’t have the players backing, as suggested by Lawton, then has he now isolated himself within the squad?

Also, is it right to slaughter Terry for what he has said? When in past tournaments certain senior players have not spoke their minds at the critical moment, only to later reveal all their misgivings in a book. At least he showed the guts to say it.

For me Terry’s biggest sin was to go public. I happen to agree with most of what he said, but he should have gone to see Capello with team captain Steven Gerarrd and said it to Fabio’s face.

There would appear to be a fine line in football between trying to cajole a manager and being a rebel, it can often be a matter of opinion as to which side of that line you can be perceived to be on. It looks fairly obvious where Capello sees Terry’s position.

At best Terry has made himself look incredibly stupid, at worse he might even be dropped for Wednesday’s game. Who knows with Capello!

World Cup Day 10 – It’s all kicking off

Sunday was a remarkable day in the world cup more for the goings on, off the pitch than what happened on it. On the pitch Brazil qualified for the last 16 with a 3-1 win over Ivory Coast, and are now 4/1 favourites with most of the bookmakers to lift the trophy.

The main talking point from that match was the pathetic play acting of Abdelkader Keita to get Kaka sent off. Keita went over clutching his head after bumping into Kaka’s shoulder off the ball, there was then the obligatory over reaction from the Ivory Coast players, and the referee issued Kaka with a second yellow, despite clearly not even seeing the incident.

Dunga thought it was a joke, whereas Sven thought Kaka got what he deserved. Sven’s excuse that Brazil scored with a handball was a pretty limp reason for backing the sending off though. Hopefully Fifa will choose not to call it violent conduct, meaning kaka will only miss the last group match.

If Fifa are to act on the incident, then surely punishing Keita for his behaviour would be seen as a more appropiate action from footballs governing body.

The French are also up to no good with the players refusing to train in support of the disgraced Nicolas Anelka, how they can back a man who said what he did to coach Raymond Domenech is beyond me. We then witnessed the extraordinary footage of Patrice Evra clashing with fitness coach Robert Duverne, the pair had to be kept apart by Domenech himself.

FFF team director Jean-Louis Valentin quit his role as a result of the team refusing to train saying “As for me, it’s over. I’m leaving the Federation. I’m sickened and disgusted.”

We then had it all, the sight of Raymond Domenech reading out a statement from the players explaining their actions. Just what is going on? The lunatics are clearly in charge of the asylum now, it’s all quite remarkable.

Then we had John Terry giving a revealing press conference during which he said “if it upsets him, so what?’’ Refering to the imminent team meeting with Fabio Capello in which Terry claims the players will be making their feelings known. This comes on the back of David James’ less than supportive comments about only finding out the team 5 minutes before boarding the bus, after Friday’s calamity.

There are also stories doing the rounds that the players want Joe Cole involved and a change in formation, it will be interesting to see what Capello does on Wednesday. Will he be told what to do by the players? Or will he be his usual self and stick to the formation that got England to South Africa so successfully?

Only time will tell, and apparently the FA are now concerned that Capello might even quit if the team fails again on Wednesday. After removing the get-out clause in hs contract just before leaving for South Africa, the FA has again left itself with a potentially large egg on it’s face.

Is Capello really worse than Sven?

The backlash towards Fabio Capello from the English press today wasn’t as forthcoming as I expected it might be. The sort of headlines we have seen in the past slaughtering the likes of Graham Taylor, Steve McLaren and Sven Goran Eriksson never materialised.

One article that did catch my eye was the match report from Shaun Custis of the Sun. In it he starts with an apology to Sven Goran Eriksson, claiming that the Swede’s tenure was now the golden era of the last 40 years. And that this certainly isn’t.

I know he’s being slightly sarcastic about Capello, but I have disagree that Eriksson’s era was the best since we won the world cup. Sir Bobby Robson’s reign was far better than he was ever given credit for, and even Terry Venables short period in charge provided a brief two week high for the English public. Sven did give us the 5-1 victory in Munich, and the 1-0 victory over our other arch enemy, Argentina in 2002.

With Custis at best comparing Capello with Eriksson, it is proof that Fabio’s extended period of grace with the press has finally run out. If his team fails against Slovenia on Wednesday, then he will surely feel the full force of the English media come down on him with all their collective might.

He has one last chance to prove all his doubters wrong, and that list of doubters seems to be growing all the time with David James appearing to have added his name to it.

During James’ aftermatch radio interview he said “I found out five minutes before we got on the bus. Usual standard.” Refering to the lateness of the team selection, he then went on to say “We train hard now for a few days and wait for the selection again five minutes before we leave again on Wednesday”.

Hardly a ringing endorsement for Capello’s policy of naming the team as late as possible. It remains to be seen whether David James is speaking for just himself, or whether there is further displeasure within the squad with Capello’s attitude towards the players.

The two performances so far could suggest there might be unrest, Wednesday will go a long way to confirming one way or the other.