Capello to warn England stars

BY foxsports • February 24, 2010

England coach Fabio Capello says he will warn his players that their World Cup places will be at risk if their conduct off the field lands them in the media spotlight.

Capello has already taken the captain's arm band from John Terry after newspaper allegations that the defender had an affair with England teammate Wayne Bridge's former partner.

Left back Ashley Cole has also dominated tabloid front pages over allegations that he cheated on his wife Cheryl Cole, who announced their separation Tuesday.

Asked what will happen to players who step out of line after he spells out his code of conduct on their behavior, Capello said: "The players have to understand what I want if you want to stay with me."

Capello, known as a strict disciplinarian, does not want to see his players' private lives splashed across newspapers - particularly as the Italian coach tries to win England's first World Cup title since 1966.

"It will be very important, because we need to create a group," he said. "The England shirt is very important. This will be one of the most important points we will speak about."

Capello will talk to his players next week when the team gathers before a March 3 exhibition against Egypt.

Despite the personal issue between Bridge and Terry, Capello is confident the defensive partners will be able to play in the same team.

"He will be with us - no problems about the other things," Capello said. "I haven't spoken to the players. When we are together, in the same room, I will speak to the players. I prefer to speak in person rather than on the phone."

Manchester City's Bridge is set to take Cole's place next week at left back because his former Chelsea teammate is sidelined with a broken ankle sustained in a challenge from Everton's Landon Donovan.

"I spoke with (Chelsea manager) Carlo Ancelotti and our doctors spoke with Chelsea's doctors," Capello said. "We hope he will be fit in two months, more or less, and I think he will be ready for the World Cup. Wayne Bridge (can play). Why not? He is a left back. Cole and Bridge are the best left backs."

Capello doesn't want media reports to damage morale in the England camp following an impressive qualification campaign.

"The World Cup is really important for me, for England and for the players," Capello said after meeting fellow World Cup coaches. "We have to stay together and be compact in every moment. I think this will be my most important job, to recreate this spirit."

England hasn't played since November, when the team lost to Brazil 1-0 in an exhibition.

"After four months we will meet the players next week and it will be a very important game for many reasons," Capello said. "We will talk about a lot of things because four months is a long time. If you can meet the players every month it is different. We will have two days to stay together but they are very strong days."

England's World Cup campaign starts June 12 against the United States. The Three Lions complete the first round with games against Algeria and Slovenia.

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