Fabio defends Welbeck selection

Welbeck was only called into Capello’s squad on Tuesday morning

following the withdrawal of Aaron Lennon through injury. Yet, along

with Wolves’ Matt Jarvis, Welbeck was still given his first taste

of international action in the 1-1 draw with the World Cup

quarter-finalists. In itself, it will not prevent him playing for

Ghana as Tuesday’s encounter was a friendly. However, it raised

enough suspicions among the visiting supporters to warrant loud

boos when the Manchester United youngster, who is having such an

excellent season on loan at Sunderland, made his entrance.

“Absolutely not,” said Capello, when asked whether he was merely

blocking Ghana from picking Welbeck in the future. “I work for

England. I always select the best players for England. “Yesterday,

Aaron Lennon was injured. That is why I picked Welbeck.” In truth,

the striker has been mentioned often enough as a potential England

striker, with Sir Alex Ferguson predicting at the start of last

season that Welbeck would end up at the World Cup. “Danny Welbeck

is going to be a very important player for England and Manchester

United,” said Capello. “I monitored him last year. He was an

important player then. I went to see him three times but then he

got injured. “However, he is a really good player.” The Welbeck

issue added controversy to a fabulous evening, which dispelled the

theory of Wembley playing host to a meaningless friendly. Backed by

21,000 noisy supporters, who created a magnificent atmosphere,

Ghana contributed to an excellent game. It was certainly hard to

begrudge them their injury-time equaliser as Asamoah Gyan slalomed

his way into the England box before cancelling out Andy Carroll’s

first-half opener. A Geordie, who plays for Liverpool and wears the

England number nine shirt, Carroll has a lot to live up to.

However, he has made an excellent start to his international

career, finding the net on only his second appearance, although

whether it is an achievement worth toasting, Capello, who warned

Carroll on Monday that he needed to curb his drinking, refused to

say. “It is a question for Kenny Dalglish,” said Capello. “It is

important for the strikers to score goals. “He was the same player

tonight that I saw before he got injured. “He ran a lot but he

needs games. He is a big person, so it is impossible for him to

recover quickly, like Jack Wilshere or Aaron Lennon.” Carroll’s was

just one of a number of pleasing performances that kept the crowd

entertained. Stewart Downing and Ashley Young also turned in

outstanding displays, leaving Capello well pleased. “I am really

happy because I saw a fantastic game,” he said. “It was not a

friendly game. Every tackle was a fight. The players did very well

and the new players did very well. “It is interesting for me to

know the value of the players when they have a match at Wembley.”

The result and competitiveness of the contest overshadowed the

debate over Capello’s decision to release five of his senior

players, with Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic still staying out of the

argument. “I said yesterday I don’t want to speak about the players

who are not here. We missed Michael Essien and Kevin-Prince

Boateng,” he said. “The fans here enjoyed a fantastic game. England

were the better team in the first half but we performed

fantastically in the second. “It is a good result. England at

Wembley after all the travelling is very tough. “I am sure and I

believe Michael Essien will be with us in the next game.”

Stevanovic had words of regret over England debutant Welbeck. “I

asked for him various times,” Stevanovic said. “Unfortunately he

has chosen England. It is bad news for us but I wish him all the

best.”