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Italy coach Marcello Lippi probably expected to be grilled for again overlooking Antonio Cassano, but England counterpart Fabio Capello may not have foreseen the furore surrounding him actually picking a player.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Ledley King has a chronic knee problem which prevents him training yet Capello still deemed the centre back good enough for an England squad recall for the friendly with Slovakia and World Cup qualifier with Ukraine.
“It’s mad. It’s pointless at best,” blasted Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp in the Sun.
King has now returned to Tottenham and will not be involved in either game.
Capello, whose side were easily beaten by Spain last month, may have been trying to show who was boss by taking a look at King first. The decision, though, does look a little odd.
Italy boss Marcello Lippi did that this week when he reprimanded his country’s professional footballers for their treatment of referees at a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of their union, the AIC.
We should also not forget evergreen Giovanni Trapattoni, whose modest yet undefeated Ireland side are just three points behind world champions Italy in Group Eight.
Watching a rudderless Italy at Euro 2008 was like having my teeth pulled out.
Wednesday’s 2-2 friendly draw against Austria in Marcello Lippi’s first game back in charge since winning the World Cup was less painful, but serious problems persist.
Gone are the days of a rock solid Italian defence. Sure Fabio Cannavaro is still injured having missed the stuttering run to the Euro quarter-finals, but even he is not the player he was.