Friday, June 18, 2010

10 reasons why Capello is out of his depth

Make no mistake about it, Fabio Capello is under huge pressure going into the Algeria match today, and he has shown nothing thus far to suggest he can cope with it.

The USA match was a hugely disappointing performance and it only serves to show that England have made little progress from the days of Sven Goran Eriksson under Capello's stewardship.

Of course, it is possible that Capello will manage to haul this side through the group stage and as far as possible, but the Italian is a long way off picking the best 11 players and there are many flaws in the way England are approaching their games. There is no doubt that the 63-year-old is out of his depth at this World Cup, and there are a number of reasons why this has already proven to be the case.

1. Team selections: Capello has shown a staggering amount of negativity in picking his side, and James Milner being handed a starting berth on the left of midfield is a classic example of that. England were playing the USA, not Spain or Brazil, so he should not be playing a workhorse in that position.

2. Player uncertainty: It was clear to see that the unpredictable nature of Capello's methods had a negative effect on the players in the opening game, and there was very little cohesion between the back five as a result. Defenders and goalkeepers  need to get used to playing with each other on the training ground for an effective unit to be developed.

3. Picking Jamie Carragher: The Liverpool defender was in his prime around 2005 and has shown of late that he is severely on the decline. I would be very concerned to see him start against half decent opposition because he lacks any pace nowadays. Jozy Altidore made a mockery of his appearance, and it was sad to see.

4. Ignoring Joe Hart: There is only one English goalkeeper who can stand proudly at the end of the Premier League season and boast of consistently excellent performances: that man is Hart. Both Robert Green and David James shipped in a shed-load of goals in the last campaign, and neither deserves to be between the sticks as England's number one. Hart does.

5. The dreaded long ball: Anyone with some sense would say that Wayne Rooney should be playing up front on his own in this World Cup. The Manchester United striker has come off the back of a stunning season for his club in that role, and has publicly stated that is his preference. Employing Emile Heskey or Peter Crouch is frankly inexplicable as the former cannot finish, while the latter is too static and attracts long balls.

6. Wasting the warm-up matches: For some reason Capello decided to play Theo Walcott and Green for most of the warm-up matches, which demonstrated a considerable lack of foresight. Walcott was never going to perform after his fragmented season, while he should have given Hart a go as he was the form goalkeeper all season for Birmingham City.

7. Neglecting Dawson's talent: It has been a joy to watch Dawson develop and flourish under the stewardship of Harry Redknapp at Tottenham, and the defender came into this tournament in fantastic form. There is no way that Carragher should be preferred to the Spurs man, and hopefully Capello will realise the error of his ways.

8. Lack of international experience: No one can argue with Capello's record at domestic level, but that is frankly irrelevant when it comes to a big knock-out tournament like this if England get beyond the group stage. Capello knows how to give a team consistency over a long season, but whether he can adapt to this format is something we are yet to discover.

9. Poor substitutions: I thought the Italian made three very poor team selections in Milner, King and Green, but his substitutions were then very shoddy to back those up. It is never a good sign if a manger is forced to make such early changes in a big match, but to introduce Carragher and Shaun Wright-Phillips only compounded the issue. It showed that Capello used the pre-tournament friendlies poorly, because both replacements looked horribly off the pace. Joe Cole should be well ahead of Wright-Phillips in the pecking order.

10. Shoddy communication: It cannot be a healthy situation for an international manager to rule with an iron fist at a World Cup, and even Capello's assistants are not endearing themselves to the players. James appears to have a frosty relationship with the Italian's number two Franco Baldini, and there does not seem to be much understanding between the staff and the players. Under Bobby Robson in 1990, the England squad had a wonderful camaraderie and the management were very in tune with the feelings and mentality of the players.

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