Capello ponders Heskey-Defoe debate

England manager Fabio Capello admits he has "more or less" made up his mind over whether to play Emile Heskey or Jermain Defoe in tomorrow night's crucial World Cup qualifier against Croatia at Wembley.

Capello has seen Tottenham striker Defoe score five goals in three substitute appearance, but the physical presence of Aston Villa frontman Heskey could give him the nod against Slaven Bilic's men, where a win would see England safely through to South Africa next summer.

"More or less, I have decided in my mind," said the England manager at this afternoon's media conference at Arsenal's London Colney training ground.

"Heskey and Defoe are both really important for me, each has a different style, but are both really important.

"We will be playing at home and Croatia will play in a different style. We have to prepare for a different game."

Capello dismissed any talk of revenge from the failure to reach Euro 2008 when Croatia recorded a infamous victory at Wembley, which ended Steve McClaren's reign.

"That match is too old, it was too long ago. It is history," declared the Italian when asked if he had watched the game as part of his planning for tomorrow.

"I prefer to look at the next game. I do not speak about a game that they played two years ago. I have to motivate the players for tomorrow, not what happened two years ago.

"They will go into this game thinking about how we won in Croatia."

Capello added: "We have three finals to play now - tomorrow will be the first, after will be in Ukraine, then the last at home to Belarus.

"We have to win one or draw some. But the most important thing is to arrive first in the group to get to the World Cup.

"We are playing well at Wembley, have won all the games and play with confidence.

"I am sure that will be the same tomorrow."

Liverpool full-back Glen Johnson has been singled out for what most observers felt was a poor showing in the friendly against Slovenia at Wembley on Saturday, when most of the visitors best attacks, including the one which brought their goal, came down his flank.



Manchester City's £25m centre-back Joleon Lescott, on as a substitute for Matthew Upson, also did not have the best of matches as Zlatan Ljubijankic headed in a consolation goal.

Capello, though, re-iterated his support for Johnson.

"Sometimes there are mistakes, but he is one of the best right-backs in the world," said the England manager.

Capello added: "The players know when they make a mistake, I am not angry - I am angry when they do not do what we have prepared for in training."

The Italian also questioned why any of the England side should be jeered by the fans, Lescott the latest target.

"I do not understand why they boo Lescott," he said. "Our fans have to help the players, not boo. All the players are in the England team and you have to support them."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
newsIt was due to be auctioned off for charity
Voices
'That's the legal bit done. Now on to the ceremony!'
voicesThe fight for marriage equality isn't over yet, says Siobhan Fenton
Arts and Entertainment
Bianca Miller and Katie Bulmer-Cooke are scrutinised by Lord Sugar's aide Nick Hewer on The Apprentice final
tvBut Bianca Miller has taken on board his comments over pricing
News
in picturesWounded and mangy husky puppy rescued from dump
News
i100
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

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
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'