Capello takes exception to Walcott claims of 'stiff and starchy' regime


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The Independent Football

Fabio Capello has taken a dim view of the new autobiography by Theo Walcott, in which the 22-year-old discloses unflattering secrets from Italian's disciplinarian regime, and is likely to take the Arsenal midfielder to task when the England squad re-assemble next month.

Capello, who was alerted to the serialisation of Walcott's book on Sunday evening, is understood to feel Walcott's game has not progressed in the way he expected when he took over as England manager. A three-year working relationship, which Walcott's autobiography reveals to have been difficult at times, will not be helped by his depiction of the "stiff and starchy" camp before the last World Cup and of a verbal attack on him by the Italian.

Walcott's place in the England set-up is not in jeopardy for the forthcoming Euro 2012 fixtures – against Bulgaria on Sofia on 2 September and at home to Wales four days later – due to the ongoing injury problems of Tottenham's Aaron Lennon.

Walcott, whose three goals in a World Cup qualifier against Croatia in Zagreb in September 2008 remain his only strikes for his country, is also likely to be in the squad for the potentially crucial match with Montenegro in Podgorica on 7 October. But Capello does not care for players revealing the business of the dressing room, and is likely to quickly communicate this fact to the Arsenal player when the squad convenes for Bulgaria.

Walcott describes in his book how the squad was too "tense and serious" before the World Cup and details an incident during the 2006 tournament in which John Terry beat Wayne Rooney at snooker: "Wayne lost his rag and snapped the cue with his hands. It put the fear of God into me."

He depicts Capello's fearful temper, describing how, after he decided to cut in from the wing during a pre-2010 tournament training session, Capello had "started screaming at me at the top of his voice. Training stopped and everyone stared at their feet and looked embarrassed. "Theo," he was yelling, "I will kill you if you come inside like that again!" If you are the boss, surely you want everyone playing well and you want to encourage everyone. It killed me and I felt it wasn't fair." When Walcott again failed to hold the touchline in England's last warm-up game for the tournament, against Japan in Graz, he was dropped from the squad.