Capello keeps players waiting

England manager considers starting James and moving Gerrard forward

Fabio Capello last night remained tight-lipped over the identity of his line-up for England's crucial Group C meeting with Algeria in Cape Town today, and the Italian insisted once again that the players would not find out the team until two hours before this evening's kick-off in Green Point Stadium on the shores of the Atlantic.

The England manager was criticised in the wake of the opening draw against the US in Rustenburg for keeping the starting XI to himself until late on, with some critics claiming that the lack of mental preparation time contributed to an erratic display, notably by the goalkeeper Rob Green. Capello said: "I have decided but we have to wait until tomorrow. I haven't told the goalkeeper who is playing. As always, they will find out on the the day of the game – never the day before." Capello has to decide whether to leave Green in place or recall the more experienced David James, who was originally given the squad's No 1 shirt. There are also question marks over the inclusion of Emile Heskey, after the Aston Villa striker again failed to score in an England shirt.

Jermain Defoe has been mooted as a replacement for Heskey, with another train of thought promoting captain Steven Gerrard to a role further forward. Capello said: "Heskey is important for movement but also a different supporter of the other players. I was happy after the USA game after everything I saw but not the result. But the pressure of the first game is higher than the other games."

Capello defended his selection of Green, although his preference for experience may tilt the balance in favour of James, who has 50 caps compared to Green's 11. "I think Green was in a good moment, he played very well against Mexico," said Capello. "Some keepers are making mistakes. The problem is the ball, the bounce is higher than normal. I think all the players can make mistakes. But I have to choose by the value of different players, not for mistakes."

Capello has been the subject of criticism for the first time since being appointed England manager in the wake of the unsuccessful attempt to qualify for Euro 2008.

Asked if he had made any mistakes over the past week, he added: "All managers can make mistakes. I decided the best players I saw during training, I decided the first XI and who I think was the best player who can play. I can make mistakes but I choose the players at this moment who is the best."

Algeria lost their first game against Slovenia but Capello said neither he nor his players would underestimate them. "I respect the team," he continued. "They have scored a lot of goals. Algeria are dangerous at free-kicks and corners. Also on counter-attack they play very well. I saw all the games that have been played. Not one game is easy. It will be a big mistake to think this game will be easy."

Gerrard is hoping to play a more attacking role against Algeria, the weakest team in the group. It has been mooted that the Liverpool striker may move into a position further forward behind Wayne Rooney, who was a frustrated figure last weekend, and the 30-year-old welcomed the possibility.

He said: "We'll have to wait and see what formation we choose to play. I'd imagine I'd be in a more forward, attacking role and that suits me. I am looking forward to it. We were pleased with the majority of the first performance. There was a lot of pressure and tension – hopefully the second will be more fluid."

Gerrard added: "Rooney looks great in training, it's only a matter of time before he finds the back of the net. This season he has been one of the best players in the world and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before we see that in this World Cup."

The Jabulani ball has been highly criticised with Capello joining in the chorus. Gerrard, though, was philosophical, saying: "It's not so bad for midfielders and strikers. But when it comes off the ground it's very unpredictable You get an advantage when shooting because the keeper doesn't know what's happening. But it's one of those things, it's the same for both sides. It's going to be the ball for the rest of tournament so we have got to accept it."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick