Wenger's u-turn on Capello

The Arsenal boss suddenly feels the England manager doesn't have to be English.

    Fabio Capello looks like bringing his passionate style
    to England [GALLO/GETTY]
    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reversed his oft stated opinion that the manager of England should be English backing Italian Fabio Capello for the post.

    Wenger who has been appointed by the FA to work as a consultant while they search for a replacement to Steve McClaren has previously been very clear about his desire for the England manager to be homegrown.

    "I manage in England and I hope I can help English football but the national team should be managed by an English guy," he said in November.

    He explained his own predicament if he were to take control.

    "If I'm England manager and I play France, what national anthem do I sing?"

    In fact he went so far as to believe if was a matter of principle.

    "The national football team represents the country, the culture of the country and the leader of your national team should be (English)," the 58 year old said.


    However, fast forward one month and present him with former Real Madrid boss Fabio Capello and the tune is all together different.

    "The quality of the candidate is outstanding," Wenger said, without a single acknowledgement to his previous stance.

    "I know Fabio for a long time. He is a strong man and a strong character. He has a clear idea of what he wants and when he is convinced of something he goes to the end of it.

    "He is a strong winner and is a guy who is convinced of the methods that he uses," added the Frenchman.

    "I believe a manager is strong when he swims against the stream. I feel he can do that and that is quite a needed quality in this country."

    Hot favourite

    The former Real Madrid, AC Milan and Juventus coach Capello has emerged as the clear favourite to take over from the sacked Steve McClaren after Portugal's Jose Mourinho ruled himself out on Monday.

    Other leading candidates for the job are Italy's 2006 World Cup winning manager Marcello Lippi and Aston Villa's Martin O'Neill.

    McClaren, who took over from Sven-Goran Eriksson last year, was dismissed after England failed to qualify for the 2008 European championship finals.

    British media reported that Football Association (FA) officials were set to interview Capello soon, and Capello's son Pierfilippo was quoted as saying his father was ready for talks.

    "The England job is really special," he said.

    "When the FA wants to speak to you, you have to listen. No contact has been made yet but we are waiting."

    FA chief executive Brian Barwick told reporters as he arrived for work at the Soho Square headquarters that it was "just a normal day at the office".

    SOURCE: Agencies


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