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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert