Capello to undergo knee surgery

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The Independent Online

Fabio Capello is to undergo major knee surgery later this week, the Football Association confirmed today.

The England coach requires a knee replacement as a legacy of his own playing days but put the operation off until England's World Cup place was secure and plans were in place for the opening stages.

But with that done, and England not in action again until March 3 when they tackle Egypt in a friendly at Wembley, Capello has decided now is the best time to get the operation done.

Although it has been claimed Capello faces an extensive recovery period, it will not prevent him taking charge of his side for the friendly against Egypt in March, which he views as vital preparation for the encounter with Algeria in Cape Town on June 19, or heading to Poland on February 7 for the Euro 2012 draw.

"Fabio has suffered with problems to his knee for a long time due to injuries sustained during his playing career, and has been left with no option but to have replacement surgery," said FA director of communications Adrian Bevington.

"He delayed the operation until after qualification for the World Cup had been achieved and at a time when England do not have a game.

"Fabio is planning to be in Warsaw at the beginning of February for the Euro 2012 draw and in South Africa for the World Cup team workshop later in February.

"He will be following all of the football on television while recovering from the operation. Our next match is not until March 3 at Wembley against Egypt and Fabio expects to fine by then.

"Fabio Capello and the FA would ask all media to respect his privacy while he has the operation and during his recovery."

In Capello's absence, his trusted assistant Franco Baldini will take up scouting duties.

Initially that will mean an extended spell in Angola for the start of the African Nations Cup.

Baldini intends to watch Algeria play twice in a group that contains Malawi and Mali, in addition to the hosts.

However, with Ghana already known as potential last 16 opponents and the Ivory Coast identified as the most likely winners from Africa, Baldini will watch all the African nations that will be at the World Cup at some point, with the Ivory Coast's meeting with Ghana on January 15 probably high on his agenda.

"Franco will watch England's group opponents Algeria and all of the African nations who have qualified for the World Cup," confirmed Bevington.

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