Scott Parker was handed his first England start for over four years as the Three Lions aimed to get their Euro 2012 qualification campaign back on track by beating Wales at the Millennium Stadium.
The West Ham star's previous start came in the defeat to Croatia in Zagreb in October 2006, since when he has won just a single cap, in Denmark last month.
Parker will anchor a midfield that also includes 19-year-old Jack Wilshere as promised, but also Frank Lampard, who had been tipped to be axed.
Instead, the versatility of Manchester City's James Milner was discarded to allow for the inclusion of Ashley Young to provide attacking support for Wayne Rooney and Darren Bent, who were paired together up front.
With Andy Carroll still not rated as ready to play 90 minutes after his recent injury, Bent was always likely to be handed his first competitive start, having scored as a substitute against Switzerland last September and then again, in Denmark.
Capello also kept faith with Tottenham's Michael Dawson in central defence, where he partnered John Terry, who was back as captain for the first time since the victory over Belarus at Wembley in 2009.
That decision has not attracted too much criticism. It is the manner in which Capello chose to make it that brought a sustained attack against the Italian, leaving him in no doubt that victory - which would take England level with Montenegro at the top of Group G - is the minimum requirement for a ceasefire to be called.
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