Capello promises best ever performance

Fabio Capello has promised England will produce their best home performance of his time in charge tomorrow.

The Three Lions may be stepping into the unknown as they tackle a Kazakhstan side whose new-look squad contains only four players the Italian has ever seen on video before.

But, for Capello, it is a chance to show last month's stunning World Cup qualifying win over Croatia was no fluke.

And he is confident his players will be ready to meet the challenge.

"There is a big expectation on us but that is normal for an England team," he said.

"We have to play with confidence and I am sure we will. It will be better than when we have played at Wembley before."

Capello feels his team are more compact than they have previously been, which could have something to do with a new formation he appears ready to use, with Steven Gerrard returning for the injured Joe Cole in a midfield that also includes Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry.

"Steven Gerrard is a very important player for Liverpool and us," said Capello.

"He is a fantastic player. He scores goals and makes assists. I am very happy he is back."

Central defence is slightly more complicated to the outside world at least.

Capello bowed to the inevitable by publicly ruling out John Terry, who has not trained all week.

The England coach was willing to confirm the obvious; that Rio Ferdinand will captain the side in a competitive game for the first time. However, there was no indication of Terry's replacement even though Capello has privately decided which of Matthew Upson, Wes Brown and Joleon Lescott it will be.

"I know exactly who will play tomorrow," he teased.

"When I first decided the squad I had to think it was possible someone like John Terry or Rio Ferdinand might get injured, which, as always, is why we ended up with four centre-backs."

Capello has no intention of disrupting the forward line that performed so clinically against Croatia.

Wayne Rooney confirmed earlier this week how much he enjoys playing with Emile Heskey, while boy-wonder Theo Walcott will make his first England appearance at Wembley.

After his hat-trick last month, the home supporters are preparing to raise the roof in honour of the Arsenal youngster.

However, Capello has warned not to expect too much of the 19-year-old.

"We have to wait with him and be patient," said Capello.

"We have to help him because it is simply not possible to play every game like the last one.

"But the fact he did so well is good. It is very interesting for the games we have now and also the future of the England team."

While no-one expected Capello to make changes up front, his decision to omit Michael Owen has caused plenty of controversy.

Former England coach Glenn Hoddle is the latest to declare discarding Owen "a mistake".

Instead, Capello has put his faith in Jermain Defoe, who has scored seven times for Portsmouth this season, and Peter Crouch as back-up forwards.

Capello is adamant he has not abandoned Owen, using Crouch as an example of his willingness to recall key men.

"I have seen a lot of games and decided on Crouch and Defoe," observed Capello.

"Don't forget, Defoe is the best scorer in England right now.

"But Crouch was not in the last two squads and neither was Shaun Wright-Phillips.

"It shows the door is open always. Michael Owen is a good player and it is possible he will be back the next time."

Capello is still optimistic Terry will come through a training session on either Sunday or Monday to put himself in contention for Wednesday's trip to Belarus.

By then, he hopes England will have nine points from nine in their bid to reach South Africa in two years' time.

Tomorrow's game should be a formality, although, as Capello accepts, Kazakhstan have not exactly made it easy for him to assess their ability.

"I only know four players," he said.

"They have moved a lot of players from the Under-21s and I have one video about these players.

"It is a new manager and a new squad. But surely it is impossible to change their style completely."

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