Capello: We have to win in Wales

Fabio Capello has conceded England have to win in Wales if they are to get their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign back on track.

Although Tuesday’s performance against Montenegro was as disappointing as the result, England’s goalless draw at Wembley is not expected to prove terminal to their hopes of reaching Poland and the Ukraine.

Yet Capello needs to be wary.

Montenegro might have entered the Group G as fifth seeds but they are clearly far better than that.

They look certain to provide the stiffest challenge to England’s hopes of claiming an automatic qualifying spot, having already defeated the other three teams in the pool, including a notable triumph over Bulgaria in Sofia.

So Capello will try to avoid further mishaps until the potentially pivotal return clash in Podgorica on October 7 next year.

And that includes overcoming a Welsh team that has badly underperformed so far, but are bound to be fired up for England’s trip to Cardiff in March.

"We have to go to Wales and win," said Capello.

"Then we will be at the top with Montenegro and then we can assess who is likely to win the group.

"I am confident. But it will not be easy because this is a really balanced group and I am sure Wales will be back in form when we play them in March."

That particular Battle of Britain contest will be a new experience for Capello, who has been restricted to continental opposition so far during his near three-year England tenure.

Before that game can be prepared for, England have a couple of key friendlies to play, against Argentina in February, and France next month.

The first match in particular will be interesting given Capello has already pledged to elevate two of the men responsible for getting England into the European Under-21 Championships next summer.

Sunderland’s Jordan Henderson and Blackburn’s Phil Jones are more obvious candidates, with Newcastle’s Andy Carroll in with a chance if he can get his place back at St James’ Park.

"It is more important to see some young players play at Wembley," said Capello.

"It is a big step to the seniors from the under-21s, it is even bigger to play at that stadium."

However, there are other issues for Capello to resolve as well.

And he has delivered a warning to Adam Johnson that he can take nothing for granted once Theo Walcott recovers from the ankle injury he sustained in Switzerland last month.

Overlooked for the World Cup and condemned for "not having a football brain" by a couple of respected pundits, Walcott nevertheless has something Capello values in a modern footballer above virtually anything else and that is pace.

"Every time Adam Johnson receives the ball he is dangerous," accepted Capello.

"But Theo is a different player.

"He is so fast, he always creates a problem for defenders.

"Johnson might be technically better but he is not as fast. And in modern football, being fast is really important.

"An ordinary pass might become a brilliant one, just because the person receiving it is fast enough to get there."