Sam Wallace: Theo aside, Capello played it safe with his selections

There is a mischievous theory that Capello saved himself a dilemma by leaving out Parker for the warm-up games, having already decided who to take in midfield

He might have left out his once golden boy Theo Walcott but in the end this was an England World Cup squad in which Fabio Capello played it safe.

Walcott's exclusion will be the decision that everyone remembers, a tight call by all accounts but one that was justified in terms of current form, however hard it will seem to the player now. At 21, there is plenty of time for Walcott to play at a World Cup finals.

Capello played it safe in other positions too. No place for Adam Johnson, the Manchester City winger who got just six minutes against Mexico and was understood to have impressed in training in Austria. Instead Capello went with the tried and tested options in Joe Cole, Aaron Lennon, Shaun Wright-Phillips and James Milner.

Ditto in the centre of midfield where Tom Huddlestone, despite two tidy halves in the warm-up games, lost out to the experience of Michael Carrick. If Capello had judged there was not much to go on in terms of form then it was experience that he opted for over youthful promise.

Also in the centre of midfield, Scott Parker was never given a chance in either of the warm-up games despite having been impressive, by all accounts, in training. One mischievous theory is that Capello saved himself a selection dilemma by leaving Parker on the bench, having already decided who he wanted in the centre of midfield.

As for Leighton Baines, the curse of being too honest about his unhappiness at being away from home for six weeks helped to do for him – that and a tough time from Giovani Dos Santos at Wembley last week. Capello and his staff detected a weakness and replaced him with Stephen Warnock although it was clear they rated Baines as the better player.

Only 10 from the original 24-man squad Capello picked to face Switzerland in February 2008 made the cut this time around although injuries played a role in this. And Capello has been fortunate with injuries. David Beckham and Owen Hargreaves aside, no one he would have considered taking is unavailable, although clearly he would prefer Paul Scholes and Wayne Bridge not to have retired.

He has been an impossible man to predict in the past when it has come to team selection – and in Walcott he threw a curveball – but at heart Capello is a conservative. As demonstrated yesterday.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
theatreSinger to join cast of his Broadway show after The Last Ship flounders at the box office
News
Valerie Trierweiler’s book paints Hollande as a cold-hearted hypocrite
people
Arts and Entertainment
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
filmsMockingjay Part 1 taking hit franchise to new levels
News
Bill Cosby
peopleActor has firmly defended himself against all claims
Arts and Entertainment
Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene in Far From The Madding Crowd
filmsAlso much to look forward to for Thomas Hardy fans
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.

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible