Tag Archive: Fabio Capello

By Laurie Fitzgerald

England prepare to take on the Netherlands at Wembley tomorrow on the back of a hugely eventful last few weeks in the set-up of the national side.

Fabio Capello is no longer in charge after the Italian resigned following the Football Association’s decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy, with his impending court case for charges of racial abuse against Anton Ferdinand not due to take place until after Euro 2012.

So with no permanent captain and no permanent manager in place, Stuart Pearce has taken temporary charge while the FA decide who is the best choice to take the side to Poland & Ukraine this summer.

The Under-21 boss has picked a few fresh faces within the squad for tomorrow’s game, as the likes of Frazier Campbell and Tom Cleverley find themselves gaining international recognition.     Continue reading


By Tony Alvarez

The main topic on many back pages this week and indeed on most front pages is the news that Fabio Capello quit his role as England manager.

The media seem to of unanimously decided that Harry Redknapp is the man to take over although he insists he will see out the season with Tottenham.

Many other managers have not put their name in the hat for selection and declared that they feel Harry Redknapp is the man for the job. Redknapp who it has long been known wants the job said that it would be hard to refuse, but for me the only pull of the England job is pride and I feel it could be the end of Harry Redknapp.

Obviously the pride of leading out your country on any occasion let alone at a major tournament is almost irresistible any football fan in the country will tell you that but if you look deeper its not all its cracked up to be especially for a manager like Redknapp or Pardew another manager who has been linked with the vacant position.

There are many reasons why I don’t believe the hype around the England job and why I certainly don’t believe it is right for individuals such as Redknapp or Pardew due to them both being very active day to day managers, with England as your all aware your not involved with players on a day to day basis for the majority of the year, if it’s not a tournament year your with them a week at a time maximum.

During that time it is very hard to improve players and give them the confidence they need which both Pardew and Redknapp do so well, its not just a chat in the changing rooms that gives a player belief it is months of work on the training ground too.

The reason in the title I call the position a poisoned challis is because in recent times no one has ever gone onto better themselves after being England boss, it has virtually been the end of their careers.

Euro 96 Terry Venables- Venables had an amazing tournament in 96 with England losing out in the semi finals on penalties, following the tournament he left the position and despite occasional forays back into management he never went on to big things.

World cup 98 Glenn Hoddle –  Hoddle achieved a 60% win rate asEnglandboss reaching the second round of the world cup before unluckily losing toArgentinaon penalties he also qualified for Euro 2000 although he departed before the tournament.

So what next for one of the best win rate asEnglandmanager, Southampton, Tottenham (who were no where near the force they are now) and Wolves, not exactly what you would expect.

Euro 2000 Kevin Keegan– If truth be honest Keegan had an awful short lived spell as England manager so it comes as no surprise that following that he took charge of a struggling Man City side before a return to Newcastle who again were not the force they were during his earlier spell at the club.

World Cup’s 2002 & 2006 Euro 2004 Sven Goran Eriksson– Erikkson arrived as England boss as one of the most highly regarded managers in Europe due to his achievements with Italian side Lazio.

He beat a Germany side 5-1 inMunich got to the quarters of the World Cup before unlikely losing to eventual winnersBrazil.

In 2004 his side lost to eventual finalists Portugal in the quarter finals on penalties.

In 2006 his England side again lost in the quarter finals toPortugal and again on penalties this was despite being down to 10 men for the majority of the game.

Upon news he would be released from his role as England boss a huge nationwide campaign started “Save our Sven” it was unsuccessful but had backing throughout the country.

So what next for a manager whom the England fans regarded so highly? A very average Manchester City side and from there Notts Countyand then onto Leicester.

Following Sven was Steve McClaren who we don’t need to look into he was that bad its logical he never got a top job after.

That leads us to Fabio Capello who has just left the position coming in he was one of Europe’s most wanted managers, it remains to be seen where he will end up.

Finally the last reason I don’t believe the job is right for the likes of Redknapp is because everything is noticed every little mistake or error. At Tottenham or at Newcastlefor Pardew if they make a mistake its not noticed there both performing above expectation so if they slip up “it was bound to happen sometime” withEngland your constantly scrutinised.

Having said all of the above if it was my choice I would  have Redknapp for the role, if anyone can install belief, confidence and pride in a bunch of able players it is Harry Redknapp however, I have a couple of problems with him.

The first is that he will clearly favour Tottenham players, he has worked with them for a number of years and knows them inside out, he will obviously not pick Huddlestone over Gerrard but if it’s a tough call the Tottenham player will get the nod.

For instance under Capello Aaron Lennon would be booking a holiday this summer if Redknapp takes over he will have his break in Poland and the Ukraine.

The second problem I have with Redknapp and its one he has highlighted this transfer window is he loves an old boy and sentiment, it’s a nice touch but when you are trying to win a tournament the last thing you want is him trying to recall the likes of Scholes or giving a clearly fading Lampard a starring role.

Last January he attempted to sign Phil Neville this year he signed Ryan Nelson at the helm of England who knows, but I certainly wouldn’t rule Beckham out.

What are your thoughts? Is Redknapp the man? Is the job a career killer? Will the old boys be pleased if Redknapp is appointed? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

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By Laurie Fitzgerald

On Friday the Football Association announced that John Terry would not be eligible for the England captaincy in this year’s European Championships.

After a meeting with the FA board, Chairman David Bernstein announced that Terry could not carry on with the armband with the charges of racial abuse against Anton Ferdinand, after his court case was adjourned until July.

While they stressed that the Chelsea centre-back will be available for selection, it would be difficult for Terry to captain the national side and unable to have the chance to clear his name until after the tournament.

It’s a decision that has split public opinion, with many feeling that Terry should remain captain on the basis of innocent until proven guilty.   Continue reading

By Laurie Fitzgerald

This afternoon, the 16 nations that have qualified for the 14th European Championships will find out their fates in the draw of the group stages in Kiev.

Fans of both England and the Republic of Ireland will be particularly interested in who they face after recent qualification heartache for previous tournaments.

England failed to qualify for Euro 2008, while the Republic have not participated since their only appearance back in 1988, so there will be great anticipation by both countries.

For Fabio Capello, an unbeaten qualifying campaign has helped lift spirits following a pitiful World Cup campaign in South Africa last summer.

Despite reaching the finals without defeat, Capello’s Three Lions find themselves in the second pot of seeds along with Germany, Italy and Russia.

Whilst it is a boost to avoid that particular trio, it does leave England exposed to the possibility of playing either Spain or the Netherlands in the group stage.

Last year’s World Cup finalists are joined by the joint-hosts of Poland and Ukraine, who despite being two of the weaker teams in the tournament are put into the top seeds category due to their hosting responsibilities – together.

In fact, due to the way that the rest of the seeding is based on world rankings and recent qualification results, England could find themselves in a group of death consisting of Spain, Portugal and France.

However, a kinder draw could see them draw Poland, Greece and the Czech Republic, which would give Capello’s men a great chance of making the quarter-finals, especially in the absence of star player Wayne Rooney through suspension.

For Giovanni Trapattoni‘s side, they find themselves in Pot Four along with the French, the Czechs and Denmark.

It means they can find themselves in a similar group to England’s worst case scenario, with a group of Spain, Germany and Portugal lurking in the draw.

But a more positive looking outcome could see them face Poland, Russia (who they will be familiar with from the qualifying campaign) and Greece to give them a very realistic chance of reaching the last eight.

So there is plenty of permutations that can occur from today’s events in the Ukraine Palace of Arts. But the paths chosen for both England and the Republic of Ireland will give us a greater understanding of both team’s chances in Central and Eastern Europe next summer. 

Pot 1: Ukraine, Poland, Spain, Netherlands.

Pot 2: Germany, Italy, England, Russia.

Pot 3: Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Sweden.

Pot 4: Denmark, France, Czech Republic, Republic of Ireland.

So what do you think? What will be the best outcomes for England and the Republic of Ireland? Who are the teams to avoid from the draw? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

By Laurie Fitzgerald

After today’s games we will have our third international break of the season, despite the fact we are only at the beginning of November.

This two-week gap has been introduced primarily for the Euro 2012 play-offs to decide who grabs the remaining four places in Poland & Ukraine next summer.

For the rest of the European nations that are not participating in these matches, they have had to fill their open window with friendlies against one another.

However, while I would usually view these like the majority of the public (i.e. a waste of time and worrying about potential injuries to your club players) I am actually grateful for this upcoming fortnight.

This is all because of one petulant swipe by a particular Liverpudlian striker that has put a huge cloud over England’s chances in the finals next June.

Wayne Rooney‘s lash at defender Miodrag Dzudovic with around 15 minutes remaining in the 2-2 draw against Montenegro last month resulted in the maximum three-match ban handed to the Manchester United forward.

It means he will now miss the entire group stage of the competition, leaving Capello with a major headache in the absence of the country’s biggest attacking threat.

Now Capello needs to use next Saturday’s game at home to Spain and another trip to Wembley to face Sweden the following Tuesday to identify who will step up in Rooney’s absence.

There are plenty of options at the Italian’s disposal to try and find not only someone that can carry a similar goal threat to Rooney, but also one that can be placed in the adopted systems of the Three Lions‘ successful qualifying campaign.

Throughout those matches Capello used two particular systems – a 4-2-3-1 mainly used in trickier games and a 4-3-3 used in fixtures that the side were expected to win at a canter.

In both of those formations, Rooney was the pivotal threat on the front foot, with the likes of Ashley Young, Theo Walcott and Stewart Downing providing the ammunition and running support for the 26 year-old.

The main candidates will probably be given a chance in the upcoming friendlies when Capello names his squad this evening.

Current favourites include Aston Villa’s Darren Bent, who is more comfortable playing in those kind of formations instead of alongside someone up front, as well as Danny Welbeck, Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe.

What makes these particular games even more ideal is the difference in quality between the two sides, both of which will be at the European Championships.

Whilst Sweden will be a team people will expect England to defeat, current World and European champions Spain will be a side the public will at best hope to get the better of.

They are the different types of teams that are set to await us at the group stage alone, let alone the difference in quality that should be expected the further we progress in the tournament.

Therefore both of Capello’s adopted systems post-World Cup can be tried and tested in the next ten days and find out who can fit in the system to help us first and foremost get into the knockout stages of next summer’s tournament.

So while many may view these friendlies as an inconvenient interruption to what is becoming another enthralling Premier League season, they could ultimately prove crucial to finding a long-term solution to relying on one extremely gifted but temperamentally unpredictable player.

What do you think? How important could these friendlies be to England’s chances at Euro 2012? Who is the player that should be Rooney’s replacement in the group stages? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

By Tony Alvarez

With early reports coming from both BBC and Sky Sports as well as many other sporting news outlets reporting thatEnglandmanager Fabio Capello has decided to include John Terry in his preliminaryEnglandsquad for next weeks friendlies opinion is divided of whether Terry should be included in the national squad whilst at the centre of the race row.

For those of you who are unaware Terry is currently being investigated by the police as reports he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

Not only would Terry’s selection be awkward if other members of the squad believe Terry is a racist but also because it is highly likely that Anton’s big brother Rio will be selected in the squad.

Many members of the Football watching public believe that playing for your country is the biggest honour second only to captaining your country which if selected in the line up Terry is almost certain to do, however those same people believe it is wrong to be able to receive such honours whilst being investigated by the police, especially for what is a taboo subject in Football with a huge “Kick racism out of football” campaign that has been going on for a good few years now.

Terry of course has been stripped of theEnglandcaptaincy before after the national press reported he had had an affair with and impregnated the girlfriend of a former club and international team mateWayneBridge.

Terry’s club Chelsea and their manager Andre Villas Boas have stood by their man and selected him in last weekend’s Premier League loss at home to Arsenal where he got on the score sheet. It is also believed he will take his usual place in theChelseaback line when they take to the field againstBlackburn.

It is believed that Terry is keen to be included in theEnglandsquad and will not make himself unavailable for selection; many feel it would be the right thing for Terry to do however he could see it as an admission of guilt.

I am not going to comment on whether or not I think Terry is guilty as is it is not my place to do so, should he pull out from the squad while he is being investigated? In my opinion no if he is innocent or believes he is innocent why should he deny himself the chance to play for and captain his nation?

The final squad will be named at around 8pm on Sunday and it is believed that Capello is to consult the bigwigs at the FA before the announcement to see if they will sanction the selection of John Terry.

All shall be revealed then, this nation had an innocent until proven guilty policy, should Terry be omitted for the squad whilst something is being investigated and he has not actually been found to break any rules or law the country will be making hypocrites of their own law.

What are your thoughts? Should Terry be stripped of the England captaincy again? Will he be included in the England squad? Would you name him in the squad if you were in Capello’s shoes? Is Andre Villas Boas right to stand by his man? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

By Laurie Fitzgerald

Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher caused a stir last week when commenting on who should be appointed England manager.

When asked about who should replace Fabio Capello when he stands down after Euro 2012, Carragher stressed that the new boss should be English, and that having a foreign coach is a form of ‘cheating.’

The 33 year-old said, “If your manager’s not good enough, that’s your country’s fault. Get a better manager. Do the coaching qualification better. I think it’s a form of cheating at International football and it’s a bit embarrassing.”

Carragher’s comments raise the question of whether the Football Association should scrap foreign appointments – or whether they go down this route because there is a dearth of managerial talent in this country.

When Sven-Goran Eriksson left the role after the 2006 World Cup, it was generally perceived that the next person for the job should be an Englishman.

Sam Allardyce, Alan Curbishley and Steve MacLaren were all interviewed to be the Swede’s replacement, with MacLaren getting the nod having guided Middlesbrough to the UEFA Cup Final in the same year.

But it turned out to be a disaster as Sven’s former assistant became the wally with the brolly, and England failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

After having their ego’s bruised, the FA distanced themselves from a patriotic appointment and went for someone with a proven track record.

Now that strategy looks in danger of failing (unless Capello defies the odds in Poland & Ukraine next summer) the perception is that there should be an English manager again, but one that has a proven track record.

The last boss to have the kind of CV that the Capello’s and Mourinho’s of this world have was the late, great Sir Bobby Robson.

So the next best thing is to go for someone that has shown he can cope in what is perceived as a big job.

Which makes it no surprise that Harry Redknapp is odds-on favourite for the role – as he is the only Englishman in that sort of position.

Redknapp has done a brilliant job at Tottenham and deserves to be in the running, but is it right he is considered a foregone conclusion?

His odds make it look like there are no decent English managers out there. I don’t agree with that.

People such as Curbishley, Allardyce, Alan Pardew, Chris Hughton, Neil Warnock, Tony Mowbray and Nigel Adkins are considered not good enough for the ‘elite’ jobs.

However, the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City always look outside of the country to fill their managerial vacancies.

This is not to say they are good enough either – but how can we say otherwise if they’re not given a chance?

Only then can we say that an Englishman should be England boss, and that appointing the latest Johnny Foreigner is morally wrong.

Source: Daily Mail

So what do you think? Is appointing a foreign manager as a national coach a form of cheating? Or is it because English managers are not of the quality required to manage their country or secure other high-profile jobs? Leave a comment and let us know your views. 

By Laurie Fitzgerald

England secured their place in Euro 2012 after getting the point they needed in Montenegro to top Group G.

Despite blowing a two-goal lead and seeing Wayne Rooney sent off for violent conduct, the draw was enough to see England reach their first European Championships since 2004.

Fabio Capello‘s men will be among the top bracket of teams that will feature in Poland and Ukraine next summer, but what are their chances up against the rest of Europe’s elite?

One point that instantly comes to mind is wondering how long Rooney’s suspension will last through the tournament.

The 26 year-old’s petulant kick out at defender Miodrag Dzudovic with 15 minutes remaining not only had ramifications for the rest of Friday night’s game.

It also meant that the Manchester United striker is banned for a minimum of one match in the finals in June, and with a violent conduct charge it could lead to UEFA giving him an extended ban.

Losing Rooney is a massive blow to England’s chances next summer as he is the talisman of the side, and if the suspension is for more than the opening game then Capello will have to look for a plan B to at least get through the group stages.

Throughout the qualifying campaign, Capello has adopted two types of formation that have served England relatively well, with the side remaining unbeaten throughout their eight encounters.

With either 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3, the players have grown accustomed to the different strategy from the 4-4-2 heavily used by the Italian at the World Cup last year.

While that proved to be unsuccessful, England now have a Plan A and B in case teams figure them out, and this could be crucial during a major tournament.

What has also been encouraging is the development of other player from the more established names as the national side starts to develop towards the future.

Players like Ashley Young, Phil Jones and Jack Wilshere have come to the fore in the absence of key figures such as Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Rio Ferdinand.

Other players including Scott Parker and Stewart Downing have matured over the past 12 months at International level.

With other youngsters coming through in Tom Cleverley, Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker and Danny Welbeck, the future is beginning to look really bright.

But the short term question is whether or not England have a squad capable of coping with the likes of Spain, Germany and Holland in eight months time.

The simple truth of the matter is that as things stand, we are behind those teams and therefore the semi-finals has to be more of a realistic aim.

Now Capello has to figure out who is going to spearhead his attack going into the tournament in the absence of Rooney, and make sure his loss – whether it’s for one game or more – doesn’t have a major impact on our chances in Eastern Europe next year .

 So what do you think? How will England fare at Euro 2012? Will Rooney’s impending ban affect the team’s chances? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

By Laurie Fitzgerald

Tonight sees England take on Montenegro in Podgorica knowing that at least a draw will secure their place at Euro 2012 next summer.

Fabio Capello‘s men currently sit six points clear of this evening’s opponents going into the final two round of fixtures.

But England will be well aware that with this fixture being their final qualifying game, Montenegro can still technically finish above them if they cause a shock.

A win tonight followed up by three points in Switzerland on Tuesday means that Montenegro would win the group as they’d have a better head-to-head record, leaving England to try and qualify through the play-offs.

So England cannot afford to be complacent and make sure that they don’t need any favours from the Swiss next week.

Capello has caused a stir going into the match with his squad selection, with some notable absentees from the 24-man squad.

The Italian has left out the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard, Joleon Lescott, Daniel Sturridge and Jermain Defoe as he keeps the faith in those that have performed in recent games.

Ferdinand is the biggest shock having worked his way back to full fitness, and it is a dramatic fall from grace for the man that was still England skipper only six months ago.

He has been ousted by the likes of Manchester United team-mates Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, who have filled in admirably in the absence of the more experienced Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

Jones’ remarkable rise could now see him replace Gary Cahill at the heart of the defence and partner captain John Terry for this crucial game.

Gerrard’s exclusion is more understandable with the influential Liverpool midfielder only just returning from a lengthy lay-off and admitting that this week’s international duty has come round too soon for him.

The absence of Lescott, Sturridge and Defoe is more surprising as all three have been in impressive form for Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham respectively.

Bobby Zamora was the selection that caught the eye, as the Fulham striker is now fully fit having put the heartache of his broken leg from last campaign behind him.

While Montenegro are set to pose a much sterner test than their last away trip in Bulgaria, England are expected to line up with a similar team that won comfortably in Sofia last month, but with a tweak in the formation.

Having played around with different strategies such as 4-2-3-1 and 4-3-3, the Italian may now resort back to 4-4-2 if he decides to play someone up top with Wayne Rooney.

Joe Hart will start in goal, with Terry and Jones set to get the nod at centre-back and Ashley Cole performing his usual duties at left-back.

There is an interesting selection headache at right-back with both Micah Richards and Kyle Walker impressing in recent weeks and vying to replace the injured Smalling, who played in that position in the previous two qualifiers.

Scott Parker is set to start ahead of Gareth Barry in the holding midfield role instead of alongside him – then there is a battle for who will be selected in the more attacking central midfield role.

It seems that the supposedly finished Frank Lampard will start with Parker having scored four goals in his last two games for Chelsea after being dropped for the Bulgaria game five weeks ago.

Lampard’s experience could play a big part in what is sure to be an intense atmosphere, and it will be a surprise if the 33 year-old is left out of the starting XI.

Ashley Young seems a certainty after his excellent season so far on the wing, and Stewart Downing is expected to fill the other wide berth after being one of the few to impress in their narrow win at home to Wales last time out, although Theo Walcott has been a regular throughout the campaign and may edge out the Liverpool man.

Rooney picks himself up front having been arguably the player of the season so far in the Premier League and will spearhead the English attack later on.

But the surprise could be that club team-mate Danny Welbeck is played alongside him, having developed a clear understanding whilst playing together at United.

For Capello, tonight is the perfect opportunity to wrap up a smooth passage to Poland & Ukraine next year.

However, defeat could create a far trickier path to get there.

So what do you think? Will England qualify this evening? Or will they get caught out by Montenegro? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

By Tony Alvarez

Michael Owen grabbed himself a brace in his first appearance of the season in the league Cup against Leeds on Tuesday night in his sides 3-0 victory at Elland Road.

For many fans and pundits Owen showed exactly why he should be in the plans of England manager Fabio Capello as he displayed his predatory instincts and his calm nature in front of goal with two fine finishes.

People of the opinion that Owen is no longer good enough to be considered for international selection will be quick to point out that it
was only Leeds, who with no disrespect to them are a Championship side and on present form are not a very good Championship side.

In my opinion Owen does not offer much to general play wheter he is playing against Barcelona or Bradford however if the ball falls
to him in around the box he is a natural predator and I would argue England’s most clinical finisher.

I should point out that I am by no means Owens biggest fan, in fact I don’t like players who offer very little to all round play but come
alive in the box, for that reason I was never that big a fan of Eduardo when he was at Arsenal, however I think Owen when fit should be included in the England squad I am not suggesting he should start because he quite clearly is not good enough, but if England needed a goal in the last 10 minutes of a game id rather the ball fall to Owen in the area than any other English striker.

On present form I may exclude Rooney from that but Rooney tends to not be in the dangerous goal scoring positions that Owen seems to find
so well.

Many people will state that if he’s not in Manchester United’s first team plans how can he be in England’s, I think people must realise United
have better players than England and in Javier Hernandez they have a player in a similar mould to Owen but with more pace similar to a young Michael Owen the whole country loved so dearly in 1998.

Say what you will about Owen’s lack of games but he still has more experience than many current members of the England
squad and England still don’t have a player in his mould.

Any journalist that’s ever been present when Fabio Capello has been questioned about the possibility of Michael Owen being included in one
of his England squads will know that the Italian is completely dismissive of the idea which I think
is a shame.

I think the best players should be included should he be the best player in his role available for selection he should be selected, if
Capello came out and said this I don’t think many people would mind but at the moment he seems so dismissive that it appears to be more of a personal issue than a Footballing one.

What are your thoughts? Does Owen deserve to be in Capello’s plans? Do you still see Owen as England’s most natural predator? Do you think Capello is too stubborn and set in his ways to change things. Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

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