The Cap Doesn't Fit

His CV may be stacked but curmudgeonly old Fabio Capello - Italy's answer to Victor Meldrew - should be shuffled off to a retirement home rather than given another chance with England.
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His CV may be stacked but curmudgeonly old Fabio Capello - Italy's answer to Victor Meldrew - should be shuffled off to a retirement home rather than given another chance with England.

Much as I hate to quote The Tories, it is time for a change. Despite his global reputation, Fabio Capello flopped for England so let’s give him the old heave ho because he was clearly an old curmudgeon who was risk averse and a nightmare to work with.

England’s performances at the World Cup clearly stank. They played like a team with no confidence, pace or ideas and that must be down to the manager.

You can point at the players – the big players didn’t perform. Capello claims they were too knackered but the fact is the chemistry was wrong.

Too many of those miserable faces belonged to the same group that failed to qualify for Euro 2004 under McLaren. England needed to freshen up for South Africa and instead we looked more stodgy than ever before.

First of all, the formation was old fashioned. Throughout the qualifier we used 4-2-3-1 to great success for why on earth did we revert to 4-4-2 in South Africa?

Against Germany we were swamped in midfield because they played the modern 4-2-3-1. That meant they had 5 players in midfield to our 4 and as a result we couldn’t break them down.

We had no playmaker in the hole – Gerrard or Joe Cole should have played there - and we had no serious defensive midfielder.

With today’s full backs operating practically as wingers, every team needs an anchor man to protect the back four and resist the urge to bolt forward. If that was Barry’s job then he shouldn’t have been caught out on the break twice on Sunday.

We had no pace either. Capello’s refusal to take Walcott on the plane was a massive error. Yes, the boy can look like a rabbit trapped in headlights at times but he also terrifies defenders with his pace.

Once Capello had decided that Lennon was not the answer all he had to turn to was that imbecile on wheels Shaun Wright Phillips. Theo could have played a massive part in the game against Germany. They wouldn’t have been able to pour forwards as they did in the first half if they had to remain mindful of the Arsenal man exposing them down the wings.

Capello was brought in to instil discipline. Sven had allowed the Wags too much influence and Shteve Maclaren wanted to be everybody’s mate, as was apparent when he referred to Gerrard as Stevie G like some kind of worshipful fan. In the end, the Italian’s discipline rankled rather than inspired the players.

Fergie is renowned for his ‘hair-dryer’ but don’t believe for a second that it’s his only motivational tool. He knows what makes players tick and how to get the best out of them. Capello’s inability to listen to his team’s call for the inclusion of Joe Cole smacked of a stubbornness that stood in the way of the team’s progress.

You may not like John Terry as a person but he clearly highlighted a genuine problem within the camp and a great manager should have fixed it rather than thrust out his mighty chin and refused to compromise. By the time poor Joe Cole got on the pitch he played like a man who knew he didn’t have the confidence of his boss.

A less pig-headed man would have taken one look at how the team failed to perform against USA and Algeria and made drastic changes. Capello tinkered. Defoe for Heskey, his solution.

The reality was that the team were hobbled by their formation, shorn of their secret weapon in Walcott and sucked dry of imagination and improvisation thanks to the manager’s authoritarian style of leadership.

Want to know why Rooney didn’t perform at the World Cup? He clearly hated his boss. When Capello first arrived for England duty, the United forward described him as "scary"

"It was mad,” he said. “On the training pitch, you'd be training for about three seconds and then he'd stop you and put you in position and say that's where you should be. He'd physically move you. It was really intimidating."

If you want to know exactly how Capello treats his staff just watch the way he behaves towards England legend and his No.2 Stuart Pearce here. He physically bullies Psycho in this clip taken during the Slovenia game.

When it comes to naming the next England boss, The FA need to stop bouncing between extremes, and reacting to the weaknesses of their last appointment - they selected  disciplinarian Capello in response to the lax style of McLaren who was chosen following the distinct foreigness of Sven who was selected because of the tactical naivety of Keegan etc, etc.

Next time around they need to pick the best man for the job. Someone who understands tactics, can communicate with the players,  isn’t afraid of giving the kids a chance and has got a sense of humour - which, let's face it, should be an essential attribute for every England manager. Step forward Mr Martin O'Neill.