Capello: World Cup squad must face the fans' anger

Old guard will be picked for first half as manager urges them to take responsibility and shield younger players
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The Independent Football

Fabio Capello said yesterday he would make his England World Cup players face the anger of the Wembley crowd tomorrow by deliberately picking a first-half team made up of individuals who were in South Africa this summer.

The England manager said that it was his responsibility – and that of the players who were part of England's dismal campaign in June – to accept any public criticism for their performances at the tournament. To that end, he will protect the 11 new players he has brought into the squad for the game against Hungary by introducing them in the second half.

The England team that starts the match is expected to be comprised of 10 of Capello's World Cup squad plus one striker who was not there – anticipated to be the uncapped Fulham forward Bobby Zamora.

Capello said: "The first XI will be the players who played at the World Cup. This is sure. Like me, they have to take the booing. This is to respect [the crowd]." Earlier, Capello had said that the crowd had the right to make their feelings known. "Yes, why not?" he said. "We win together, we lose together. Always, I respect the crowd. I respect everything. I'm the boss. They have to boo me like the players.

"We understand and we have to accept we missed [out on playing our best] at the World Cup. I have to respect the crowd. But you have to be stronger than this." Capello also said: "I am sorry for the fans. The expectation for the result at the World Cup was very high and the result was not good. I think also they can boo us when the game starts but after a short time I hope they get behind us."

There will be debuts for the Arsenal teenagers Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs, Capello said, in the second half. Only the Chelsea contingent of John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole will be asked to play the full 90 minutes. Joe Hart will start in goal. Capello said he expected to make at least six substitutions.

The Sunderland striker Darren Bent is expected to pull out of the squad with a back injury, taking to three the withdrawals in the last two days. With Wes Brown and Paul Robinson having responded to call-ups by announcing their retirement from international football, Capello said he believed that English players still wanted to play for their national team.

"I think they're very proud to wear the shirt," he said. "The best players want to play for their countries. Some of them who are picked for the squad but don't get in the team decide that they don't want to be a part of it any longer.

"I accept the decisions [of the players who have retired]. Robinson called us and said he wanted to stay at home. I spoke with Brown here [at the team hotel]. I told him why I didn't select him for the World Cup because he didn't play for the last two months of last season.

"This time, I selected him because he played all the pre-season games but he said, 'Thank you, but I've decided I prefer to stay at home'. You have to accept what they want to do. I think it's an honour to be with the national team and to play for England."

Despite the poor showing of the England team during the World Cup and the unfortunate timing of the friendly just days before the Premier League season starts, the FA still expects a crowd of 60,000-plus, which is consistent with attendances for friendlies played at this time of the year. The last August friendly at Wembley was against the Czech Republic in 2008, which attracted a crowd of 69,738.

Once again, Capello identified the incorrect decision by the Uruguayan referee Jorge Larrionda not to allow Frank Lampard's first-half shot against Germany in the second round of the tournament that crossed the line to stand as a goal as the pivotal moment in the tournament.

The England manager likened the breakdown in confidence of his team after that moment to the one suffered by Brazil during their quarter-final defeat to the Netherlands. Capello expounded the theory that there was an element of every footballer's confidence that was prone to inexplicable peaks and troughs.

Capello said: "It's not an excuse. I didn't say we were out [of the tournament] because of this [disallowed goal], but it might have changed England's World Cup. You know, I said before, Brazil were the best team that we have played against. But after Holland equalised [against Brazil], it changed the game.

"For [the same reasons with England], it was probably important [that Lampard's goal had stood] to rebuild confidence. As a manager, I've seen a lot of times where the first half is a disaster, but the second half changed completely. If you asked me why this happened, I don't know why. This is football."