The moment Capello lost his faith in Walcott

Dressing down after Mexico shambles was the turning point, while Barry and Crouch hopeful of starting in opening game

Theo Walcott got the first hint that his World Cup place was in doubt when Fabio Capello picked him out in front of the England squad when they watched a DVD of the Mexico game last week and gave the winger a public dressing-down for his performance.

Yesterday, Walcott's worst fears were confirmed when, having failed to respond in the following game against Japan on Sunday, Capello left him out of his final 23-man squad for the flight to South Africa this afternoon. The 21-year-old was told the news by phone from Capello when he was on the golf course with his father Don.

The England players had their doubts about Walcott, who lost out on the two right-wing places to Aaron Lennon and Shaun Wright-Phillips, after the Mexico debriefing. Previous to that he had been one of Capello's favourites and a regular starter when fit following his hat-trick against Croatia in Zagreb in September 2008 but the hairdryer treatment from the Italian showed his faith was beginning to ebb.

It was a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for a player who was a shock inclusion in Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad four years ago as a 17-year-old having never played a Premier League game for Arsenal. This time around his family and agent were already booked into the Sun City resort near Rustenburg, where England play the United States on 12 June, in anticipation of him being in the squad. Capello is understood to have regarded the decision to take one from Walcott, Lennon and Wright-Phillips as by far his toughest call.

A source in the England camp said: "It was considered that we should take only one left-back [in order to get Walcott in as a third right-winger] but in the end that was not right, we had to pick two from those three players."

With his usual good grace, Walcott said yesterday that he "respected" Capello's decision and wished the team the best for the tournament. His statement, issued through his public relations company, came out before the Football Association made their official announcement that the player was not in the squad which finally arrived at 3.45pm after the organisation had struggled to contact all the players who had been left out.

Despite having scored a hat-trick for Capello in the Croatia game that got the Italian's England regime up and running, it was felt that Walcott had shown too little against Mexico and Japan to warrant selection. His performances in training were also regarded as patchy at best with major questions about his crossing.

Capello's staff have assigned David James the No 1 jersey among the 23 squad numbers which have to be submitted to Fifa and there are suggestions that Peter Crouch is also among the first XI. However, the Capello camp are saying that nothing should be read into the allocation of numbers and that they asked the players to give them two options each to ensure they had a number they were happy with.

There was good news from Gareth Barry's assessment by Capello's medical staff yesterday with the Manchester City midfielder having made such a quick recovery that there is even hope of his ankle being ready to allow him to play in the game against the US on 12 June. His biggest obstacle to playing in that game will be whether he is match-fit or not – the injury is expected to have healed by then.

Stephen Warnock pipped Leighton Baines to the left-back understudy role after Capello lost faith in the Everton man following a poor performance against Mexico. Otherwise there were few surprises with Michael Dawson, Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone, Adam Johnson and Darren Bent also left out of the final squad that flies today to Johannesburg and then on to their base in Phokeng outside Rustenburg.

The full list of squad numbers will be released by Fifa over the next week. In the meantime, the FA are hopeful of announcing that they have signed a new contract with Capello today in which both parties will have deleted the break clause in the deal which allows him to leave on reduced compensation terms this summer. Internazionale president Massimo Moratti had expressed interest in exploiting the clause.

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Arsenal supporters gather for a recent ‘fan party’ in New Jersey
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Balmain's autumn/winter 2014 campaign, shot by Mario Sorrenti and featuring Binx Walton, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn, Ysaunny Brito, Issa Lish and Kayla Scott
fashionHow Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
BBC broadcaster and presenter Evan Davis, who will be taking over from Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight
peopleForget Paxman - what will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Life and Style
fashionCustomer complained about the visibly protruding ribs
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
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

Evan Davis: The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing to take over at Newsnight

The BBC’s wolf in sheep’s clothing

What will Evan Davis be like on Newsnight?
Finding the names for America’s shame: What happens to the immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert?

Finding the names for America’s shame

The immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border without documents who never make it past the Arizona desert
Inside a church for Born Again Christians: Speaking to God in a Manchester multiplex

Inside a church for Born Again Christians

As Britain's Anglican church struggles to establish its modern identity, one branch of Christianity is booming
Rihanna, Kim Kardashian and me: How Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Olivier Rousteing is revitalising the house of Balmain

Parisian couturier Pierre Balmain made his name dressing the mid-century jet set. Today, Olivier Rousteing – heir to the house Pierre built – is celebrating their 21st-century equivalents. The result? Nothing short of Balmania
Cancer, cardiac arrest, HIV and homelessness - and he's only 39

Incredible survival story of David Tovey

Tovey went from cooking for the Queen to rifling through bins for his supper. His is a startling story of endurance against the odds – and of a social safety net failing at every turn
Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little