Under-fire Fabio on the defensive

Fabio Capello has sidestepped reports of a communication problem with his England squad after the retirements of Paul Robinson and Wes Brown.

Robinson and Brown both walked away from international football at the weekend.

The Blackburn goalkeeper and Manchester United defender made their decisions independently after being called up for Wednesday’s friendly against Hungary at Wembley.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Capello said: "I accept the decisions.

"Robinson called us and said he wanted to stay at home. I spoke with Brown here. I told him why I didn’t select him for the World Cup because he didn’t play for the last two months (of last season).

"This time I selected him because he played all the pre-season games but he said, ‘thank you, but I’ve decided I prefer to stay at home’.

"You have to accept what they want to do. I think it’s an honour to be with the national team and to play for England."

The Italian was heavily criticised for his role in England’s poor World Cup showing in South Africa.

He attributed the last-16 exit to tiredness and the mindset of the players, although he admitted he is unsure how to fix the problems.

He said: "South Africa wasn’t good but we did not play at the same level that we played in qualification. When you play a World Cup competition, you have to arrive in really good physical condition.

"We were not so fresh as the games we played before the World Cup. We changed some things but it was not enough.

"Another thing really important thing is the mind of the players. We played not with confidence but with fear. I don’t know what we have to do to improve the mind of the players."

Asked if he thought he was a better manager following the tournament, Capello added: "Every experience is important for the players, the manager – I learned a lot."

Capello believes lessons will be learned from the disastrous World Cup, which saw England knocked out courtesy of a humiliating defeat by Germany.

He said: "When you lose something, the experience is very important, you have to understand what really happened and understand if I, or we, made mistakes and, from that, improve. Everyone makes mistakes.

"I think I can do something for this team because my experience is good and we can improve more."

Asked about the difficulties surrounding young English players struggling for first-team football, Capello said: "This happened to Joe Hart. He went to Birmingham last year and improved a lot, because players need to play. Another case is Ben Foster. I selected him but he didn’t play for the last three months with Manchester United.

"It’s important to play, to be able to monitor them."

Capello’s new-look England were reduced to training with just 16 of the 23 players he originally selected as the Three Lions began preparations this morning.

Thus far, the Italian has opted not to draft in any replacements for Brown and Robinson, although it is anticipated he could bring in someone from Stuart Pearce’s under-21 squad should the need arise.

In addition to the permanent absentees, five more players were unable to play a full part in training on Monday morning.

Chelsea duo John Terry and Ashley Cole both went for warm-down sessions after forming part of the initial group meeting.

In addition, Darren Bent (back), Glen Johnson and Gareth Barry (both ankle) also went for treatment on what have been classed as ‘minor’ injuries.

Happily for Capello it is not anticipated that any of the quintet will miss out on selection and are expected to train on Tuesday.

The remaining members of the session included all three players who have been called up for the first time.

Fulham’s Bobby Zamora will be hopeful of playing some part on Wednesday, having caught Capello’s eye prior to the World Cup but then been forced to miss out due to a hamstring injury.

At 29, Zamora hardly represents a bright new future for England but the presence of Arsenal pair Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs certainly do.

Despite not being regulars for the Gunners, both Wilshere and Gibbs are viewed as two of England’s most talented youngsters and will at the very least benefit from the exposure they will gain this week and quite possibly make their first senior appearance at the same time.