A View From Below

Sporting debate and opinion

Capello needs to keep faith in youngsters ahead of Euro 2012

The penny seems to have finally dropped for Fabio Capello.

Nearly 18 months after the mauling England suffered at the hands of a young and vibrant Germany side in the Second Round of the 2010 World Cup, the Italian tactician has finally accepted that for his national side to progress emphasis must be placed on youth.

By all accounts, the so called ‘Golden Generation’ has failed to live up to their billing during the last decade, with the quarter finals stage at international competitions representing the glass ceiling that the Three Lions have been unable to smash, despite a supposed star-studded and talented team.

Ahead of the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine next summer, coach Capello believes he has unearthed a new generation of gifted players, which he blooded during the recent friendly victories over Spain and Sweden.

“I looked for something new and found it,” said Capello, who missed his son’s wedding to be at the match against the World Champions on Saturday at Wembley.

England's youngsters need time to develop

“I’ve found it in [Jack] Rodwell, [Kyle] Walker and [Phil] Jones. These three are interesting. They are really good technically, really good physically and all three are fast. This is important in modern football.”

Strikers Danny Welbeck and Daniel Sturridge were unfortunate not be included in the former Real Madrid manager’s praises, who both impressed in their substitute appearances.

Add to this the precocious but currently injured Jack Wilshere, out-of-favour but in-form Micah Richards, pacy wingers Theo Walcott and Adam Johnson and custodian Joe Hart and there is a real sense that a young and hungry side is ready to replace England’s old guard for Euro 2012.

Capello has the opportunity to blend youth and experience at next summer’s Euro’s, which will be his last tournament as national team boss.

Ashley Cole continues to stand out as the country’s first choice left-back, Scott Parker has excelled in the midfield engine room and Ashley Young has made great strides in his game since his move to Manchester United.

Capello has overseen a staggering level of upheaval since the World Cup in South Africa, with over a dozen members of the squad being consigned to the international scrap heap.

David James, Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Joe Cole have all fallen out of favour, whilst Jamie Carragher and Emile Hesky have retired from national duty.

Several others have fallen down the manager’s pecking order, such as Michael Dawson, Stephen Warnock, Ledley King, Michael Carrick, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Aaron Lennon, Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch.

England’s performances at Africa’s first World Cup suggest that such squad revolution was necessary, although it begs the question why has the manager waited until now to place his faith in younger players?

Fabio Capello needs to keep his cool ahead of Euro 2012

No one is getting carried away with the optimism emanating from the England camp after back-to-back 1-0 victories, the first against a Spanish side tipped to add to their growing trophy cabinet in Poland and Ukraine, but England are in a decent position ahead of the tournament.

One pressing issue remains: The Wayne Rooney conundrum. You would struggle to justify leaving the talented front man out the squad, England’s one true world class player, even though he will play no part in the team’s first three group games.

But who replaces Rooney for the group stage? Darren Bent is the safe option but perhaps a more rewarding choice would be the exciting Danny Welbeck. You could go with pace, accommodating Gabriel Agbonlahor or Daniel Sturridge in the side. How about plumping for height and power with either Peter Crouch or Andy Carroll?

These are the selection dilemma’s that Fabio Capello faces in the next seven months as the national side looks to banish the ghosts of Bloemfontein and fans begin to turn their attentions towards the show-piece event, at which England’s side may possess a welcome youthful verve.


November 19, 2011 - Posted by | Football


  1. I think Agbonlahor deserves a chance. He’s different to the other options, having both strength and pace.

    Don’t agree with Lennon being overlooked as well, he’s definitely as good as Walcott if not better.

    Did you see Capello compared Jones to Hierro and Baresi?

    Comment by Matthew Stanger (@MatthewStanger) | November 19, 2011 | Reply

    • I’ve always liked Agbonlahor, now he is coming back to form should be given a few games.
      And like you say is different from England’s other strikers.

      About Lennon he will likely come back in when his form returns, as an Arsenal fan I would have to back Theo!

      Didn’t see those comments, where did u read them?
      Sounds ridiculous, I’m getting a big tired of all this Phil Jones praise, media love to build up a player to extreme levels (Walcott, Nasri, Adebayor examples of this from Arsenal)

      Comment by jdickenson100 | November 19, 2011 | Reply

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