Liverpool's fury over Gerrard

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Reds accuse Capello of reneging on agreement as midfielder suffers injury in England's defeat to France

England's first home defeat under Fabio Capello was capped off last night by a major row with Liverpool over Steven Gerrard's injury in the disappointing 2-1 loss to France.

Capello's makeshift team were comprehensively outplayed by their old rivals and at the final whistle they were booed off the pitch by those still left inside Wembley.

England's Italian manager then walked into an argument over Gerrard, who picked up what looked like a serious hamstring injury in the 85th minute. The Liverpool captain limped away from the ground last night, saying: "It's not good," and will undergo a scan today to assess the damage.

Liverpool's anger at Capello was expressed by their head of fitness and conditioning, Darren Burgess, who used Twitter to accuse England of reneging on an agreement concerning how long Gerrard would play.

Burgess wrote on the website: "Unbelievable from all associated with England and English FA with regard to SGs injury. Completely ignored agreement and past history." He added: "Completely amateurish and now we pay for their incompetence. Absolutely disgraceful."

The comments were put to Capello, who admitted there had been a loose agreement for Gerrard to play only 60 minutes but claimed injuries to Gareth Barry and Rio Ferdinand, who were both replaced at half-time, had left him short of experienced players.

Capello said: "We spoke with Steve and said he would play one hour, but after Barry's injury we had some problems. That was the reason he stayed on the pitch. If it's possible, the players will play the time we agreed with the club.

"But Barry was really injured so we needed someone senior on the pitch because it was a really young team. He said he was good so, for that reason, it's good. We're upset about what happened to Steve, of course."

As the row blew up last night, Burgess went back to Twitter to delete his comments. The damage, however, had been done. The angry exchanges only added to the sense of chaos that followed England's first defeat at Wembley since Steve McClaren's last game in charge, the 3-2 loss to Croatia in November 2007.

Goals in either half from Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena confirmed France's almost total dominance of the game, and although a late volley by substitute Peter Crouch with his very first touch gave the scoreline a semblance of respectability, it was more than England deserved.

Capello, who picked two debutants in Andy Carroll and Jordan Henderson in the starting XI, admitted his patched-up team had played "with fear", against a team ranked 12 places below them in the Fifa standings.

Capello said: "France played very well in that first half, when we played without confidence and with fear. We missed a lot of passes and played the ball back, not forward."

The Italian confessed England ended up playing route-one football, lumping long balls forward for Carroll to win with his head. "The only times we went forward were long balls to Carroll, which isn't the style we like," he said.

Capello, however, was happy with the contribution of Carroll, who was selected despite a late plea from his club, Newcastle United, to leave him out because he has been suffering from a groin injury. Capello said: "I'm really happy for the performance of Andy because he played very well. He understood that he'll be a player who'll be important for the future of England. When he received the ball he played quickly, and his movement every time was dangerous.

"Franco [Baldini, Capello's assistant] spoke with Newcastle before the game and we checked him before the game. I spoke with him at the hotel, personally, and after the warm-up here. After the first half, too. He told me he was fit to play every time. No player has ever played with me who was not fit. Our doctor said he was fit, so the player was ready to play. He finished the game very well."

Capello maintained the friendly had been a worthwhile experience, saying: "It was important for me to see the value of the young players here. It's important to see how they react against a stronger team."

France manager Laurent Blanc could scarcely contain his delight at the result. "We bossed that first half and turned that play into a goal. Very positive overall," he said. "We imposed our style. The way we played was the most positive thing."

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

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links