England’s Italian manager ‘wants to enjoy life as a pensioner’ while Gerard Houllier arrives at Aston Villa.
|Staying alive: Capello’s England have their destiny in their own hands in Euro 2012 qualifying [GALLO/GETTY]|
Entering the final season of his managerial career, Fabio Capello is still agonising over the perceived injustice of England’s World Cup 2010 exit as he tries to develop youngsters to deliver European glory.
The former Real Madrid and AC Milan coach is set to step down in July after the European Championships, although qualification is still to be clinched.
Even if England reach the finals in Poland and Ukraine, Capello is frustrated that the same problems that afflicted the team in South Africa last year will not be solved: player fatigue and disallowed goals.
Capello remains fixated about what might have transpired at the World Cup had Frank Lampard’s equaliser against Germany not been disallowed when England had hit back to make it 2-1, before going out 4-1 in the last-16 phase.
“Possibly that would have changed England’s performance in South Africa,” Capello reflected ahead of England’s season-opening friendly against the Netherlands on Wednesday.
“I have never understand why sometimes you can play well in the first half and be terrible in the second.
“In 1966, England won the World Cup when it was not a goal, no? Little things make a difference. If we had gone from 2-0 to 2-2 at the end of the first half it would have been different for us and for Germany.”
The England players will still have been wearier than the Germans. But even more a year after the loss, Capello does not have a solution to ensure his players will be fitter come Euro 2012, with no changes to the domestic calendar put in place.
“To win, you need good players who arrive at the most important tournament at the top of their form,” Capello said.
“But you play a lot in England. All the countries in Europe have a winter break. You also have one more competition than the other countries (the League Cup).”
Capello spoke to reporters at Wembley Stadium after attending the launch of the Football Association’s Mars-sponsored Just Play initiative, which aims to get 150,000 more people playing football at any level by 2013.
By then, the 65-year-old Capello expects his successor to have inherited a talented group of talented youngsters, but they might not be ready to perform at Euro 2012.
“My experience teaches me that in a short time players improve a lot,” Capello said.
“Last year (Jack) Wilshere was a young, good player, but not at the top. After six months he was at the top. I hope in the next six months these young players will be better. They need experience. They need the games.
“It is not easy to find a player like Wilshere who explodes in six months. This is the big difference.”
Wilshere’s return to Arsenal from a loan spell at Bolton helped his progress. And Capello believes that moving to Manchester United will aid the development of former Aston Villa winger Ashley Young and ex-Blackburn defender Phil Jones.
“When you play with top teams it’s different to when play you play with clubs in middle of the table,” Capello said.
“When you play for top teams you need to win every game, there is pressure and fans ask for something more. The competition to play is also harder.”
As such, Capello would prefer it if midfielder Scott Parker moved to a Premier League club rather than sticking with relegated West Ham.
“It is important for him to play in the Premier League but I know he is really serious,” Capello said, while still insisting: “If I find a really good player in the Championship I will pick him. Why not?”
Despite Joey Barton being one of the Premier League’s leading midfielders, he has no chance under Capello of adding to the one appearance he made in 2007 for Steve McClaren’s England.
The Newcastle midfielder has been put on the transfer list this week after criticising the club’s hierarchy on Twitter and Capello also has concerns about his volatile behavior on the pitch.
“He is a good player but he is a dangerous player because sometimes you could end up playing 10 vs 11,” Capello said. “He might get sent off.”
In Euro 2012 qualifying Group G, England have three matches remaining and are locked on 11 points with Montenegro.