Capello starting to lose his grip in the midst of FA meltdown

By Rhys Hayward
fabio capello - photo: paul blankLord Triesman's alleged remarks about Spain recruiting Russia to potentially bribe referees at this summer's World Cup comes at the end of a rocky week for the FA

fabio capello - photo: paul blank

The news of Lord Triesman’s alleged remarks about Spain recruiting Russia to potentially bribe referees at this summer’s World Cup comes at the end of a rocky week for the FA.

First of all we had the ‘Capello Index,’ Fabio’s controversial plan to rate his players during the World Cup.

The plan was scratched following predictable outcry but there is a sense that some of the respect the 63-year-old had constructed over two successful years had quickly evaporated.

It is a respect built on consistency. Capello’s appeal as England boss came courtesy of being different to his erratic predecessors, Sven Goran Eriksson and Steve McClaren.

Team selection throughout the World Cup qualifying campaign was based on consistency and an apparent process of building a tight, organised unit for the trip to South Africa.

But that consistency appears to have been surrendered with the loss of Gareth Barry to injury and the mixed courting of veterans Jamie Carragher and Paul Scholes for his preliminary squad this week.

The likes of Ledley King, Scott Parker and Stephen Warnock were also called into the 30 man squad despite nominal or non-existent involvement under Capello so far.

Ok, it’s hardly Maradonaesque madness but it’s not hard to interpret it in the same way as Gary Neville who described Capello as being a ‘bit desperate,’ to call on his Man United teammate.

There were also reports that Capello is giving serious consideration to playing a 3-5-2 formation should Barry fail to recover by June.

Perhaps it is this news, revealed this week to legends of the 1966 winning squad, which should concern England fans the most.

3-5-2 is an almost defunct formation in the modern game, a relic which was successful for a brief period of time in the 1990’s but overtaken in the modern game by the more fluid 4-3-3.

And this is England. Other, more tactically aware national sides -Capello’s native Italy for instance -might be able to adapt easily but for players who have almost exclusively operated as part of a flat back four, it could be baffling.

On the last occasion England tried 3-5-2, in 2006 against Croatia under Steve McLaren, they went down 2-0.

And Eriksson’s switch to 4-5-1 with a half-fit Wayne Rooney in the last World Cup campaign appeared to completely flummox a squad for whom 4-4-2 is ingrained in their psyche.

Capello it would seem, is finally starting to feel the pressure of arguably the most high-profile job in football and for the FA, it couldn’t have come at a less opportune moment.

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