Capello ponders Heskey-Defoe debate
Tuesday 08 September 2009
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."
sportLiverpool 5 Norwich City 1: Uruguayan striker has now scored 11 league goals against the club
arts + entsOlivier-nominated actor and singer is set to star in Lloyd Webber's musical about the Profumo affair
filmWith more than 70 per cent of early films lost, archivists are scouring the world to preserve the precious examples that remain
sportThe coach of Chalfont St Peter's under-10s football team was relieved of his duties after he sent an email to parents that said: 'I am only interested in winning'
techA piece of new hi-tech kit aims to get us scribbling again
indybestMake getting out of the wrong side of bed on cold winter mornings a thing of the past with our selection of night-time covers
life + styleClarissa Baldwin is the brains behind the slogan 'A Dog is for Life not just for Christmas'
Latest in Sport
- 1 The hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are 'better at map reading'
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 UK chef creates world's most expensive ready meal - a fish pie costing £314
- 4 Food poverty in UK has reached level of 'public health emergency', warn experts
- 5 I’m sure Kate Moss doesn't care about posing for Playboy. But I do