It’s not looking good for Capello

by Gavin Caney

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Despite being hyped up by the British press as the games great saviour, Fabio Capello will really earn his corn over the next six months. Obviously it all gets serious now as the build up to South Africa begins and the Italian starts finalising the squad in his mind. Few can doubt he’s done a good job – and many applaud his disciplinarian attitude. Yet everyone seems to have overlooked how difficult it will still be for our national side this summer.

Firstly, our so-called number one has been injured for weeks. Many have said David James is too old and unreliable, but frankly he is the most experienced keeper in the best of an average bunch. He needs to get playing soon before he misses the plane completely. Robert Green has suffered a dip in form recently, while Paul Robinson is doing his best to remind people why he was ever England number one in the first place. England’s top keeper on form at the moment is Joe Hart, but his lack of big game experience may make Capello hesitant in picking him. I’d be very surprised if he shot from nowhere to number one.

A number of key players are off form or not even featuring for their clubs. Rio Ferdinand’s back never seems to get any better. Lennon, Wright-Phillips and Walcott  have spent periods on the sidelines and Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard are well below-par for their clubs compared to their usual exploits. Let’s hope they’re saving it for the summer.

But England’s main problem is clearly at right-back. Glen Johnson is out and might not be back until April, causing problems for the manager who said he would only pick regular performers. Despite being excellent going forward I’m still not convinced about his defensive ability. Gary Neville, once a dead-cert on the team sheet, is on his last legs and his compatriot Wes Brown has hardly covered himself in glory recently. He was vile against Brazil, and was then torn apart in Sunday’s F.A Cup game by a League One striker. Luke Young is distinctly average and his superb team-mate James Milner may even be a better, if not ideal option.

Wayne Rooney is carrying Man United and many fear he may burn himself out.  After all he has to do the work of two men as Berbatov continues to walk through his Old Trafford career. If he does, England could really struggle with a partnership of Defoe and Crouch, who although combining well for Spurs, would hardly instill fear into the world’s best defences.

Of course, it’s reasonable to be cautious and pessimistic in a run up to the World Cup. I head out to South Africa more in hope than expectation. Every side is one big injury away from having their dreams ruined. Yet, as we all prepare to get out the English flags this Summer before being told to put them away by the PC brigade, it’s worth noting that England are a long-way from being in the best shape. Let’s just cross everything that Capello is really worth the obscene sum that the F.A pay him.

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  • Michael

    Spot on with the Berbatov comment, Rooney could burn himself out. Although, he does say that he wants to play another game as soon as he gets off the pitch!

    Steven Gerrard in particular has been through a poor run of form… as you said, lets hope he comes good in the summer

  • Darren

    god for bid if Rooney did get injured we’d have no chance of even getting knocked out on pens. As for Gerrard we are better of without him, Capello still doesn’t know where to play him, I’d rather have Milner of Ashely Young to be honest. We are a much better side without Gerrard. We’ve said this time and time again but he is NOT international class

  • Matt Quinn

    Luke Young? Distinctly average??? He was our 2nd in Villa’s player of the season awards last year and probably our most consistent performer. He is the best English right-back in the league by a distance. Excellent in defence and tidy going forward.

  • Matt Quinn

    Ps. Watch Arsenal’s 3rd goal against Villa (when Young was taken off and Milner shifted to right back)…. then tell me that Milner is a better bet at right back. Luke Young would never be so careless.

  • Darren

    it’s amazing how little depth our squad really does have. If Ashley Cole is injured we have no cover there either. Bridge is absolutely appalling and needs to dropped from the next squad. Both Warnock & Baines are miles ahead at the moment.

    As for the keepers, it’s obvious Joe Hart is currently the best in the league at the mo.

    It’s the defence that really does worry me. Upson is our third choice centre back, he got out jumped by a 5.8 midget on Sunday, imagine if he’s up against a Torres or a Klose?

    There’s a long way top to go of course, but if the WC was next month we’d be doomed!

  • Darren

    ha ha, that 3rd goal came at exactly the same time you sent me that Milner is shit text!!

  • dexylongshot

    Doom merchants the lot of you!

  • Jude

    I am still picking myself up from the floor from the comment that Steven Gerrard is not international class. We are talking about the footballer Gerrard, right? The one who almost single handedly gave Liverpool their only two trophies since you-know-who has been in charge – the European Cup (05), and FA Cup (06). The same player that many of his peers consider the finest midfield player in Europe. The Liverpool captain who has been voted in the top 10 for the European Footballer of the Year three times – more than Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard, or John Terry. I thought this was a website frequented by those that understood about football…

  • Darren

    yep, that’s one, I’m not saying he’s not great in a Liverpool shirt because he is. I’m simply saying he is very average in an England shirt! That’s a fact, how many good games (excluding the Postman) has he had in a 3 Lions top?

    Tomorrow’s Steven Gerrard blog should raise some quality banter!!

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