Football

No split loyalties for Capello

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Fabio Capello would stand proud for England even if his team face Italy in the World Cup final.

On the evidence of Monday night's performance against Mexico, there are still a few teething problems for Capello to address before his dream scenario can come true. However, should his adopted national team come face-to-face with the Azzurri at Soccer City on July 11, there is not a moment's hesitation about what Capello would want the outcome to be.

"I hope to play against Italy in the final or the semi-final but at that moment my shirt would be an England shirt," he said. "I would not swap my position with (Italy boss) Marcello Lippi. I prefer to be England manager."

It might not have seemed that way during the first half of England's 3-1 win over Mexico.

The four Chelsea players who sat out the contest must have reflected what a good 45 minutes it had been to miss, given England's inability to stem the flow of speedy Mexicans flying through midfield and attacking an unprotected defence.

Capello rarely wastes an opportunity to emphasise how impressed he is with James Milner.

On this occasion, the Aston Villa man struggled. And Milner was not alone, given central midfield partner Michael Carrick failed to exert any kind of influence on proceedings.

It was not until Steven Gerrard was switched from his left-sided station at the break that some coherence was evident in England's play. Better now than in three weeks though, according to Capello.

"I am not worried about that performance. It is important to make the mistakes now," he said. "We have time to work on these mistakes and other things that we have to do to be better, to ensure we play like I know this team can play because we have really good players.

"We need to recover the spirit of what we did in qualification."

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Topics:
Football
James Milner
Chelsea
Premier League
Michael Carrick
Steven Gerrard
Aston Villa

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