The man in the middle: New England manager Fabio Capello (C) is flanked by his
translator (r) and FA Chief Executive Brian Barwick [GALLO/GETTY]
Fabio Capello has been officially unveiled as English football’s new national manager, promising to bring "great results'' to a national team that has repeatedly failed to live up to expectations.
The former AC Milan, AS Roma, Juventus and Real Madrid coach signed a 4 1/2-year contract on Friday worth a reported $12.06 million a year, making him the highest paid national manager in world football.
The 61-year-old Italian replaces Steve McClaren, who was fired last month after England failed to qualify for the 2008 European Championship.
His first task is to make sure England qualifies for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
"It's an honour,'' Capello said at a news conference broadcast live in Great Britain and Italy.
"It's a dream come true. It's a job that everyone wants and carries great expectations. We will work hard to achieve our objectives.''
Capello, who starts officially on January 7, said he will meet with players and coaches to identify the problems which have affected the underachieving England team.
"I think this is a great team,'' he said in Italian, sitting alongside his new bosses at the Football Association.
"I am convinced that we can have great results.''
Capello said he was as surprised as anyone that England didn't qualify for Euro 2008.
"The pride of wearing this (England) shirt should be a stimulus for all the players to give more,'' he said.
"I want to see them play for their national team the way they play for their clubs.''
Capello spoke mainly in Italian, with a few words near the start of his 35-minute news conference in English.
He said he will work hard to learn English in time for his first training session with the players next month before the Feburary 6 friendly against Switzerland.
"I am convinced that in a month when I meet with the national team I'll speak English,'' he said.
Capello, who coached David Beckham at Real Madrid, was guarded about whether he will pick the former England captain for the national squad.
Beckham, who is now with the Los Angeles Galaxy, has made 99 national team appearances and hopes to reach the 100 mark against Switzerland.
"I had a thorny relationship with David at Madrid but he showed himself to be a great player and a great man,'' said Capello, who dropped Beckham after the player announced he was moving to the Los Angeles Galaxy and then reinstated him on the way to leading the Spanish club to the La Liga title.
"I think Beckham, when he sets himself something, he will achieve it. But I will have to make choices.
"I believe that Beckham is an important player for England and I will take him in serious consideration. However, there's still a month to go before the first game, so there's still time.''
Those decisions will also include the England captaincy.
Capello refused to say if John Terry would continue in the role after taking over the captaincy from Beckham after last year's World Cup.
"I have just arrived,'' he said.
"There are many things I have to think about, I have got over a month and I will make my decision.''
Capello is bringing in four Italian assistants with him, but has stated he wants an English coach to be integrated into his setup from the start.
"It's vital that we have someone who understands the national football and the language to help,'' he said.
W for winner
Capello was introduced by FA chief executive Brian Barwick as an "outstanding man with an outstanding record" who fits all the qualifications to handle one of the most pressured job in sports.
"He's a winner with a capital W,'' Barwick said.
"We know we owe the fans. We believe Fabio Capello is the man to restore our pride.''
The fact that Capello speaks little English, is currently the major point of discussion for the English press, who will no doubt focus on the fact should the Italian struggle during his reign.
However, Capello arrives with an impressive record at club level.
As a manager he won 14 titles with the four clubs, including the Champions League with AC Milan.
That 4-0 triumph over heavily favored Barcelona in the 1994 final in Athens, Greece, is seen as one of the premier performances in the history of the competition.