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Leading article: Benvenuto, Signor Capello


There will be those who regret that for the second time in seven years the Football Association has chosen or felt obliged to go abroad in appointing a new coach of the national team. Among them is the president of Uefa, the former French captain Michel Platini, who suggests that some countries his own among them should feel they have too much footballing heritage to consider a non-national for the role.

It might be nice to think that England is such a country, but recent results show that for all the hype surrounding the team, they are decidedly second-rate. Unable even to reach the finals of Euro 2008, they need all the help they can get, and the FA's decision to go overseas again must be supported.

The reign of Sven-Goran Eriksson, the Swede who became England's first foreign coach in 2000, was not a dazzling success, but the move back to an Englishman Steve McClaren was so disastrous that nobody should question the elevation to the post of a figure as accomplished as Fabio Capello.

The Italian has not coached at international level before, but having achieved the highest honours in the club game in both Italy and Spain, he commands respect throughout the football world. His attitude to star names he is said to offer them no special treatment is an especially attractive quality given the self-regarding nature of some of England's leading players. Mr Capello looks his own man, and he will need to be in the highly pressurised environment he is about to enter. And if his limited English prevents him from understanding what the press is saying about him, that can only be a good thing too. Benvenuto, Fabio.