Capello: I'll be England's Ghostbuster

Capello: I'll be England's Ghostbuster

Published May. 5, 2010 3:52 p.m. ET

Fabio Capello aims to be England's World Cup Ghostbuster in South Africa this summer - and take the team as far as possible in the tournament.

After almost two-and-a-half years in the job, the moment Capello has been working towards will arrive in Rustenburg on June 12 when the Three Lions tackle the United States in their opening Group C game.

It will be the start of a month-long march towards Soccer City which the whole of England will hope ends in glory.

For Capello it would represent the realisation of a dream, in addition to rewriting the history of an entire nation.

And, just as the Italian ripped away the weight of Croatia from English necks, so, in an exclusive interview with Eurosport's 'Eurogoals One-to-One show', to be screened on May 10, he wants to strip the millstone of 1966 too.

"I have tried to take a detached from this "not having won in 44 years" idea,"

"When I first got here we had this Croatian ghost (the Wembley defeat under Steve McClaren that saw England miss out on Euro 2008). I hope the same thing happens with the ghost of 66.

"I like the Ghostbusters idea. Let's go with that because I want to take this team as far as possible."

Yet Capello does accept that when he gathers his players together for the start of their first Austrian training camp on May 17, his first task might be to lift a few spirits.

When he initially revealed an intention to visit Irdning both before, and immediately after the friendly with Mexico at Wembley on May 24, Capello felt some of his key men would be missing the first half of the gathering as they completed Champions League duties.

As it turned out, with the exception of David James, plus the Chelsea contingent, who will play in the FA Cup final, Capello's entire squad will complete their seasons this weekend.

In a sense, it is perfect. However, the former AC Milan chief is aware that in such a competitive environment, coming to terms with relative failure is not easy.

"It is always better to have players who have been winning than ones who are unhappy because of the national championship or Champions League went wrong," he said.

"But Liverpool sold players and those who arrived didn't meet the expectations. Arsenal were unlucky because they also sold some players, didn't get any others and important ones who were left were injured at key moments.

"Manchester United sold Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez and the players they got instead are maybe not as good. Chelsea did buy Zhirkov, but nothing more.

"None of those teams strengthened. In England, only Manchester City did. In Italy, Inter Milan bought six players.

"If you sell your good players, obviously you will get a lot of money, but you have to buy other players to strengthen your team.

"Maybe because of the financial crisis, this clearly didn't happen."

The consolation is that Capello has time to regain the desire and focus. He also has Wayne Rooney.

Capello has never made any secret of his admiration for the Manchester United forward, nor how much he is coveted amongst his international coaching brethren.

Indeed, going back throughout his illustrious career, he can think of only two players - Franco Baresi and Raul - capable of making a similar impact on a team.

"He is very important because when the team is falling asleep, he is the one who can give them a boost," said Capello.

"Sometimes it is possible to put the other team to sleep, to dupe it, and know you can score any time because they are not dangerous.

"But Rooney reminds me of Baresi and Raul. They say 'we have to do something'."

Taking charge of a team on their knees following the failure to reach Euro 2008, Capello sensed he was onto something good in the second friendly against France.

Although England lost, and the players thought their new coach was "crazy", for 35 minutes, Capello saw an ability that, if stretched to 90, could make his charges genuine contenders to lift the greatest prize on earth.

That is the ghost he must try to bust, accepting the obstacles that lie in England's path will not be overcome easily.

"Winning Euro 2008 provided Spain with a great trust in their ability to reach the top and Brazil don't play the way they used to but they are a hard team to beat," said Capello.

"But my team can be competitive against anyone. Apart from Argentina we have played against the best teams in the world. I think my team is very good.

"My only hope is that we'll get to the World Cup in the same physical shape we were in at the beginning of the season.

"We have to recover from a tough season, where we play more matches than anywhere else.

"I hope that has not dried up the mental and physical energy of the players."