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?
Life and Style
Customers look at the new iPhones on display at the launch of the new Apple iPhone 6 and iphone 6 plus at the Apple IFC store in Hong Kong
Arts and Entertainment
Liam Neeson said he wouldn't
tv

Liam Neeson's Downton dreams

Sport
Wembley Stadium
footballNews follows deal with Germany
Arts and Entertainment
A spell in the sun: Emma Stone and Colin Firth star in ‘Magic in the Moonlight’
filmReview: Magic In The Moonlight
Voices
voicesApple continually kill off smaller app developers, and that's no good for anyone
Sport
A 'Sir Alex Feguson' tattoo
football

Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear
tv

Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage

Life and Style
life

News
ScienceGallery: Otherwise known as 'the best damn photos of space you'll see till 2015'
Life and Style
fashion

Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour

Sport
Andros Townsend is challenged by Vladimir Volkov
football
Arts and Entertainment
Rapper Jay Z performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury in 2008
musicSinger sued over use of the single-syllable sample in 'Run This Town'
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

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week