Rooney: I was scared of Capello

Rooney: I was scared of Capello

Published Feb. 21, 2010 11:13 a.m. ET

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney says he found Fabio Capello "really intimidating" when the Italian took over as England manager in 2007.

Capello has revived England's fortunes since succeeding Steve McClaren in the role, overseeing a near-perfect qualification campaign for this summer's World Cup finals.

Quoted in several Sunday newspapers, Rooney said: "When Capello came in on the first day, he was scary.

"It was mad. On the training pitch, you'd be training for about three seconds and then he'd stop you and put you in position and say that's where you should be. He'd physically move you. It was really intimidating."

Comparing the Capello era to the previous regime, Rooney added: "He's changed everything.

"You need to watch yourself if you make a mistake in training. He records everything and he once had Glen Johnson going over a tape because he wasn't happy with one of his throw-ins.

"Everything has to be right. But he's done a fantastic job and we're very happy to have him.

"He's restored our confidence as a team and he's given me the freedom to play.

"He gives confidence to some of the players who maybe in the past didn't have the belief that they were good enough to play for England. You can see it when you look around the team."

On McClaren's predecessor, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Rooney added: "Sven was so relaxed it was weird.

"You were basically telling him what you wanted to do, but he was a good coach. He got us to two World Cup quarter-finals."

The England squad will meet up next Sunday for the friendly international against African champions Egypt on Wednesday week.