Capello wins over players and public

Six million pounds a year, or whatever the true figure is (these sums tend to be exaggerated) may be an absurd amount to pay a football manager; but Fabio Capello is almost looking worth it. Given the luxury of five friendly matches to adjust to international management and to improve the morale and discipline of a demoralised squad, he has won the players over and is slowly doing the same with the public and the press.

At last, leading players are beginning to carry club form on to the international stage and performing without the "fear" that Capello identified early in his reign. In addition, since the serious stuff of competitive football began last month, there has been evidence of a quality hugely valued in any coach at any level: the ability to spot defects during a game and put them right. In three of the four World Cup matches to date – Croatia being the obvious exception – when England have had an underwhelming first half, Capello has reacted as early as half-time with either substitutions or a tactical change.

In the opening group match away to Andorra, depressingly goalless by the interval, he did not hesitate to take off two attacking players who were not performing – Jermain Defoe and Stewart Downing – and replace them with Emile Heskey and Joe Cole. Cole broke through Andorra's reinforced defensive wall twice within 10 minutes of coming on to win the game.

Last Saturday at Wembley, there was a switch of both tactics and personnel at half-time, when Shaun Wright-Phillips came on as a second wide player to open up Kazakhstan and another goalless first half was followed by five goals in little more than half an hour. Finally, in Belarus, the midfield were told to stop sitting off the opposition and Steven Gerrard was sent forward behind the two strikers to occupy the influential holding player Alexander Kulchy.

Rather than allowing anyone to rest on their laurels, Capello is now publicly committed to introducing three or four younger players for next month's friendly away to Germany. Joe Hart, Micah Richards, David Wheater, Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor have been mentioned, all of whom would continue the progression from the Under-21 side that Stuart Pearce, their coach and Capello's assistant, is so passionate about.

In the meantime, Gerrard had a useful warning for the younger element after the Belarus game when he said: "The experienced players have got to help the younger ones in the squad and say, 'Hey, we've got to be humble, keep your feet on the ground and keep working hard'." He might even have had in mind Wayne Rooney, who with adrenalin flowing after scoring twice, had been lured into saying England could win all 10 group games. Rooney added: "On Saturday there were people saying I was on the left and it didn't work, and tonight in the second half I played more towards the left and got two goals. I'm approaching 20 goals for my country and I'm still only 22, so if people can't be pleased with that I don't know what will please them."

"A new manager has come with different ideas and is slowly building a winning team," Gerrard said. "The important thing is the manager has a lot of belief in the players. He knows he can improve this team. He's a good manager and the players have a lot of respect for him." So, increasingly, does everyone else.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
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

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution