World Cup starts here, says Capello

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The Independent Football

Fabio Capello told his England players yesterday that "the World Cup starts here" and urged them to get focused on the task in hand as they gathered for tomorrow's friendly against Egypt.

Not all the squad trained yesterday and, as of early evening, Capello was yet to deliver his well-trailed speech reminding the players to behave themselves off the pitch – in the light of the John Terry-Wayne Bridge saga and the stories around Ashley Cole's private life that have led to the breakdown in his marriage. The England manager has said during last week in interviews that players have to expect to be treated as role models and must act accordingly. It could well be that he speaks to them on that subject when they gather for their second training session at Arsenal's London Colney training ground this morning.

Instead the players were tested for their suitability to train and play at altitude, particularly important given that the first World Cup game against the United States on 12 June at the stadium in Rustenburg will be played at 1,150 metres above sea level. It is for that reason that Capello has chosen the Royal Bafokeng sports campus as England's base because he needed to get his players acclimatised.

There are minor concerns about the fitness of Jermain Defoe who has a groin problem. Members of Capello's backroom staff spoke to new boy Ryan Shawcross, encouraging him to put his challenge on Aaron Ramsey out of his mind and concentrate on making a good impression.