Capello claims Rooney fine to play despite father's arrest

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Italian coach says his key striker is in right frame of mind to face Montenegro in tonight's key Euro 2012 qualifier

Podgorica

Fabio Capello insisted last night that Wayne Rooney was "calm" and "relaxed" ahead of tonight's critical Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro, despite the arrest of his father on suspicion of illegal betting.

Capello is understood to consider the arrest of 48-year-old Wayne Rooney Snr to be unwelcome but, at one remove from the striker, far less debilitating that the personal problems which so damaged the player and squad at the World Cup last summer. "Yes, he's OK. He's OK. No problems. Absolutely no problem," Capello said, five minutes after a discussion with the 25-year-old about the arrest, news of which reached the England squad after they landed here. "He's calm, relaxed. I think, in a really short time, everything will be... we'll find a solution..."

Capello now admits that Rooney's marital problems caused the loss of form which helped bring failure in South Africa and it was also on the eve of England's Euro 2012 qualifier in Switzerland in September last year that allegations of Rooney's assignation with a prostitute were revealed. Capello still selected him in Basle and he scored after 10 minutes and his position tonight is under no doubt. "Yes. I think he's in a good moment of form and there will be no problem for the game," Capello said. "He's told me he's good. No problems. In the last three days he's trained two days really, really well." Rooney was typically combative in training at the stadium last night, protesting when penalised for a mistimed tackle on Gareth Barry after making a poor pass.

Capello hinted that he is ready to stick with Gary Cahill and John Terry in central defence with Phil Jones now a strong contender to make his England debut in the troublesome right-back position. Terry, who appeared for Chelsea immediately after his mother was arrested for shoplifting in 2009, said tonight's Group G game would give Rooney the distraction he needed after the arrest of his father, his uncle Richie and seven other people, including the Motherwell midfielder Steve Jennings. The arrests follow allegations of a football betting scam relating to Jennings' dismissal for dissent in a match between Motherwell and Hearts last December. "I know the manager's spoken to him and he's totally fine," Terry said. "Wayne's one of the best players in the world and he'll deal with it and go out and perform like he always does on the pitch. He's fine and focused on the game. We all know Wayne, the type of character he is. He'll certainly be OK."

At least four bookmakers reported suspicious betting activity to the Gambling Commission over Jennings' controversial red card. Despite the relatively small amounts of money placed, the case is regarded as an important test of how seriously the Gambling Commission and sporting bodies want to take such issues. Gamblers in Liverpool were among those who placed or attempted to place bets of up to three figures at odds of up to 10-1 on a player being sent off.

Capello passed up the chance to discuss, from his experience in Italy, whether corruption was rife in the game. "Let's speak about the game, please," he said. "Not about corruption or these things. We need to wait... It's a good question, but at this moment, I need to wait to see what the police will find, and no more. Because I can speak about only one thing: I've just found out. We need to wait. If it's one person or a lot of people... I don't know. I'm focused on the game, guys. I'm focused on the game. I don't know."

Capello, who said the decision of which striker to deploy with Rooney was other one which troubles him, responded jovially to questions about the conduct of the England rugby players in New Zealand. "Everything when you win is good, the perfect choice, the best choice - [even] if you drink or go with women. Everything is good if you win. When you lose, it's a disaster."

The manager, who may play Ashley Young behind Rooney in a 4-2-3-1 formation with Barry, rather than Frank Lampard, with Scott Parker anchoring midfield, said he "hoped" the mentality of the players was right, having concluded in the warm-up before the win over Wales that it was not.

Capello confirmed that he has no intention of retiring from his position as and when England progress to Euro 2012. "Because, for me, life is about challenges. And all the games are a challenge. I hope we can speak about it tomorrow. But it's my desire to be the manager at the Euros. Absolutely. I've got a contract."

England fans in for a treat inside the Podgorica City Stadium

The City Stadium in Podgorica holds just 17,000 fans and ahead of England's game tonight €25 tickets were said to be changing hands in the city for up €250, indicating that it will be full to the rafters for tonight's game.

The Montenegro fans are a relaxed bunch – their team could be spotted around town yesterday in bars and cafes without any needed for roped-off VIP areas or overbearing security. However, tonight in the stadium, the atmosphere is expected to be electric as the team, under new manager Branko Brnovic make the push for Euro 2012 qualification in their last two games.

The ground itself is a remnant of the days when Montenegro was part of Yugoslavia, although there have been some concessions to modernity. Bars and shops are built beneath the concrete stands, and the Gorica national park makes for a striking backdrop.

The 1,200 English fans lucky enough to have been allocated a ticket (and a few more paying black market prices) should be in for a treat at one of the most atmospheric small national team stadiums in Europe — provided the England team do not lose.

Sam Wallace

Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
Review: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
News
People
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players