Capello demands football focus

BY foxsports • March 2, 2010

Fabio Capello has left his players in no doubt he expects to be talking about football, not their private lives, ahead of this summer's World Cup.

England tackle African Nations Cup winners Egypt at Wembley in their final friendly before Capello names his provisional squad for South Africa.

Yet the build-up has been completely dominated by the fall-out from John Terry's alleged dalliance with Wayne Bridge's former girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel.

It cost Terry the England captaincy and resulted in Bridge ending his association with the national side, so Capello accepts it is a subject he can hardly ignore.

However, the Italian is clearly uncomfortable discussing such matters and has made his players aware of what he expects from now on.

"I want to speak only about things that happen on the pitch," he said. "Not outside the pitch and not outside the stadium.

"I want to speak about the style of our game. I want to speak about what happens during a game.

"For some players, their private life is a big problem. Also for the clubs and, at the end, for me. But I hope they understand it is really important, in this last period, they are careful in their lives."

Terry might find himself singled out for abuse by a Wembley crowd who have never been slow to attack members of their own team.

Gary Neville and Terry's Chelsea team-mates Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole have been the target of booing in the past.

But, after carefully crafting the unity that was so obviously missing when he replaced Steve McClaren two years ago, Capello has joined those urging the England fans to lay off the 29-year-old.

"I hope tomorrow the fans help the team," he said. "They understand the private life of some players has not been so good and I know they are worried after what has happened.

"But we are dressed in the England shirt and it's important for us that they help us every moment, so I hope they don't boo John Terry.

"He is a part of the team and an important player for us. Both tomorrow and afterwards, the fans have to think we win important games together."

Having stressed the importance of self-control, Capello has been delighted with the response during two days of training, in which Rooney has been limited to half an hour.

The attitude has confirmed in his own mind there are no splits in the camp, even though Bridge's Manchester City team-mates Gareth Barry and Shaun Wright-Phillips hope to be involved tomorrow while a number of Chelsea players were happy to talk with their old team-mate at Stamford Bridge at the weekend.

"I spoke with the players and told them we have to recreate the spirit of the group," Capello said.

"After four months this training was really important for us. Now I'm really happy because I saw the same thing that I remembered from November."

Rooney will face Egypt tomorrow, as will Wes Brown given he is the only right-back in Capello's squad, a point the Italian noted in claiming that role was more problematic than the left-back position that is between Stephen Warnock and Leighton Baines now that Cole is injured and Bridge no longer available.

Positions up for discussion include the goalkeeper and Rooney's partner up front, while Ryan Shawcross is unlikely to start despite receiving positive backing from Capello in the wake of his tackle on Aaron Ramsey at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday that left the Arsenal man in hospital with a broken leg.

"I selected him before the game on Saturday," Capello stressed. "The tackle was really hard and I'm upset for Ramsey, but it was not a tackle where he tried to break his leg

"I've spoken twice with him. He's young and it's his first time with us. It is a little bit different for him but being with us helps him to forget what happened."

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