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Fabio Capello showed his worth with some inspired selections and substitutions in England’s 5-1 win over Kazakhstan and 3-1 victory in Belarus in World Cup qualifying.
With Joe Cole injured, Capello managed to fashion a way for Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard to play with each other while the introduction of Shaun Wright-Phillips helped on both occasions.
Click on the video above to hear Vlogonthepitch regulars Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley discuss the performances.
Has Capello got the balance right or would you pick some other players to make England even stronger?
England have made their best start to a World Cup qualifying campaign and Wayne Rooney thinks he’s playing at his best, so why haven’t Fabio Capello’s men been bragging about how they’re going to bring home the trophy in 2010?
What has been striking about the Capello era is a new sense of humility and realism that England players had long lacked.
England fans were criticised by coach Fabio Capello and stand-in captain Rio Ferdinand for booing Ashley Cole after his mistake led to a goal in the 5-1 win over Kazakhstan.
Both are English, both are midfielders, both are top performers in the Premier League, both can’t play together for England…. Sound familiar?
The dilemma that seems a permanent thorn in any England manager’s side has reared its ugly head once more; how do you get Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard to play well together.
The League Cup came through a difficult birth and a forgettable youth to enjoy a long, proud middle age but the time has come for this doddery old relative to be shuffled off into retirement.
A clinical hat-trick in Zagreb on Wednesday and suddenly Theo Walcott is the answer to all England’s ills and Fabio Capello is worth every penny of the millions the FA pay him for his services as national coach.
At least that’s the line trotted out in most of the daily newspapers as talk of new era and new wonder kid dominated the back pages.
Kev Fylan blogged about England’s fear factor being the root cause of their continual failures but Jamie Carragher’s autobiography reveals another possible explanation when he admits that he just didn’t care enough about playing for the national team.
The Liverpool defender, who retired from international football principally because he got fed up with playing out of position, said:
England play Croatia on Wednesday and you know what? It won’t be a surprise, or a disgrace, if they lose.
Why? Because Croatia are a technically gifted, cleverly organised, highly motivated international team, who beat England twice to reach Euro 2008 and outplayed Germany when they got there.
It’s been easy to laugh at English football over the past week, what with the comings and goings at Manchester City, West Ham United and Newcastle United and then the national team’s depressingly familiar performance in a 2-0 win over Andorra on Saturday.
I suspect many fans will find food for thought in the comments of Greg Dyke, the former TV executive and board member at Manchester United, and now chairman of division three club Brentford.
Fabio Capello’s less than spectacular start to life as England coach has been forgotten of late, as the back pages have been dominated by the petrodollars at Manchester City, the mysterious goings on at Newcastle, where Kevin Keegan has not been seen for three days, and Alan Curbishley’s sudden resignation as West Ham manager.
With World Cup qualifiers coming up against Andorra and Croatia Capello will soon have everyone’s attention again … and he is about to discover the size of the task that awaits him.