Varney better than Rooney in latest Index embarrassment

England manager's rating website causes more controversy with bizarre set of player rankings
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The Independent Online

The controversial Capello Index player rating website pioneered by Fabio Capello caused further embarrassment for the England manager last night, with the publication of bizarre ratings that place little-known English players at Blackpool above established stars Capello has selected in his current squad.

Having created the complex rating system behind the Capello Index and launched it in May, Capello was ordered by the Football Association to immediately sever all connections with it. The Italian had apparently not anticipated the potential for embarrassment attached to England players being rated online by their own manager.

However, more than three months on, Capello's lawyers are yet to force the website's creator Chicco Merighi, a former business partner of Capello, to close the site. To add to the embarrassment, the Capello Index is now rating players in the current Premier League season and has produced its own hierarchy of best performers which clashes radically with Capello's selections for the England team.

Having factored in the performances for the weekend's games, the Capello Index yesterday ranked every Premier League player in order on the basis of their performance. Of the top 26 English players, only seven were in Capello's current squad to face Bulgaria on Friday and Switzerland four days later in the opening Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Luke Varney, the 27-year-old Blackpool striker, who has never played for England at any level, is rated 48 places above Wayne Rooney. Matthew Gilks, the Blackpool goalkeeper, is two places above Joe Hart, Capello's current No 1. Curiously, Gilks, born in Rochdale and called up before for a Scotland squad, is still technically eligible to play for England, having never won a senior Scottish cap.

Capello was warned by the FA against launching the website, which took place on 10 May, on the eve of his World Cup finals squad announcement, but proceeded anyway. He is still paying the price for that decision, with the issue bound to surface again when he faces the media tomorrow, ahead of the Bulgaria game.

With so many of his key centre-backs injured and unavailable – John Terry, Rio Ferdinand, Jamie Carragher and Ledley King – Capello might be interested to know that his index rates Roger Johnson of Birmingham City as the most in-form English centre-back in the league. Johnson, 27, worked his way up to the Premier League via Wycombe Wanderers and Cardiff City and has never had an England call-up.

Sunderland striker Darren Bent is currently the top-rated player in the Premier League section of the Capello Index and West Brom goalkeeper Scott Carson is second. Both of them feature in Capello's current World Cup squad but neither are likely to start Friday's game.

The formula that determines players' marks, devised in part by Capello, has never been completely explained. However, the ratings for players such as Steven Gerrard now include his World Cup performances. The England captain is not even rated in the top 100 in the Premier League by the Capello Index. By contrast, the 28-year-old Blackpool defender Ian Evatt is rated 34th, ahead of all Capello's current defenders, apart from Matthew Upson.

Capello yesterday oversaw his second training session with both reserve goalkeepers Ben Foster and Carson absent. In their place, he co-opted 19-year-old Arsenal academy goalkeeper James Shea. Theo Walcott said: "It's nice for James – he can go back to his family and tell them who he played against and how Wazza [Rooney] chipped him from the 18-yard box."

How Englishmen fare on the Capello Index

1. D Bent, Sunderland, 83.54

2. S Carson, West Brom, 72.50

3. T Walcott, Arsenal, 70.41

4. L Young, Aston Villa, 70.25

5. L Varney, Blackpool, 68.65

6. R Johnson, Birmingham, 67.11

7. C Gardner, Birmingham, 66.66

8. P Scholes, Man Utd, 66.53

9. M Gilks, Blackpool, 66.25

10. J Hart, Man City, 66.25

11. K Dyer, West Ham, 65.64

12. M Upson, West Ham, 65.43

13. I Evatt, Blackpool, 65.24

14. F Campbell, Sunderland. 65.00

15. K Davies, Bolton, 64.93

16. P Robinson, Blackburn, 64.69

17. N Shorey, West Brom, 64.69

18. K R'dson, Sunderland, 64.69

19. B Zamora, Fulham, 64.30

20. A Lennon, Tottenham, 63.69

21. P Robinson, Bolton, 63.60

22. M Turner, Sunderland, 63.60

23. D Welbeck, Sunderland, 63.45

24. G Cahill, Bolton, 63.29

25. D Stockdale, Fulham, 63.13

26. W Rooney, Man Utd, 63.13

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