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."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
Life and Style
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own