Carroll handed England chance but warned by Capello to clean up his act

Fabio Capello has warned the Newcastle United striker Andy Carroll that he must get his chaotic private life in order if he is to have an international career beyond his debut in tonight's friendly against France.

The England manager, who rarely speaks about players' lives off the pitch, has left Carroll in no doubt that this is a key moment in his career. The Newcastle No 9 has the chance to impress against the French tonight and stake a claim to become the target man for the national side, a role that has been vacated since Emile Heskey's retirement from international football following last summer's World Cup.

But Capello made it clear yesterday that no matter how well he plays tonight, Carroll must end the wild behaviour that has made him the centre of several tabloid stories.

Carroll is due in court in January accused of assaulting his former girlfriend. Two weeks ago, he was allegedly seen having breakfast in McDonald's at 5.45am after an all-night drinking session with the Newcastle captain, Kevin Nolan.

Capello is prepared to draw a line under Carroll's list of misdemeanours, as long as the 6ft 3in striker mends his ways. "Everyone makes mistakes when they're young. He's really young. He's 21. We have to help him," Capello said yesterday. "But he has to understand now that he's in the senior team, and there will be journalists, photographers, everyone focusing on him. Life will be different now. His behaviour has to be better. He can't make mistakes like he made before. He has to change [his lifestyle], to be careful in every moment. We have to help him do that."

Capello said that the striker would have been called up for last month's Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro but for his ill-judged behaviour, which included failing to report to have an injury assessed for the England Under-21 squad in September.

The Italian added: "We didn't select him for the last game. Now, I think, we picked him because he can improve after this game, after he's stayed with us, because he's young. You have to help young people, and we are helping him. It's a big chance – to play with the seniors and to change his lifestyle. A big chance. I hope that he will understand what really happens when you play with the seniors."

Carroll has shrugged off a groin injury to line up tonight alongside fellow debutant Jordan Henderson of Sunderland in a new-look England team that also includes Arsenal's Kieran Gibbs at left-back.

Henderson starts because Jack Wilshere, the Arsenal midfielder, was forced to withdraw yesterday with a bruised thigh, the 12th player ruled out through injury. The first-choice goalkeeper Joe Hart is a doubtful starter, having jarred his back in a training session at Wembley yesterday. Ben Foster is set to replace him. Steven Gerrard also suffered a back strain yesterday but is expected to take his place in the side, playing just behind Carroll as a lone striker.

Rio Ferdinand, who captains the side, said young players like Carroll cannot afford to get sucked into the habit of late nights and drinking. "That was part of the culture when I was growing up as a kid," he said. "The players I looked up to at West Ham, their social lives were a big part of their lives. Nowadays, you can't afford to do that.

"You're playing against teams that are physically in tip-top condition. If you're going out there and are not in the same physical condition, you can't do yourself or your team justice."

Back in 1997, the then England manager, Glenn Hoddle, decided to delay handing Ferdinand his first cap following the defender's conviction for drink- driving. The Manchester United player, who was 19 at the time, admitted yesterday he wished he had learnt sooner to curb his lifestyle, and used the example of Michael Owen as a role model.

Ferdinand said: "You benefit football-wise. It's not just that you want to become a better professional. You become a better player, in simple terms. Look at someone like Michael Owen – I've always used him as an example because we came through at the same time, went to the 1998 World Cup, and we had two different outlooks on life. I was a social butterfly. He was a real professional, who had a good structure around him and knew exactly what he wanted to do and where he wanted to go. It took me longer to get where I am than it took him."

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

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent