Capello keeping open mind on finals squad

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Football News

Fabio Capello will not even think about filling in the blanks on his World Cup wallchart until next April.

The England coach believes he has seven spaces still to be occupied, with Wednesday night's goalscorers Peter Crouch and Shaun Wright-Phillips both on this list of possibles rather than probables.

"At this moment it is impossible to speak about 23 players who will be with us in South Africa," said Capello. "I have my ideas but next April I will have to check how they all are."

A game of second-guessing is already underway, with various theories being put forward for the precise list of 23 men who will carry England's hopes in South Africa next summer.

Capello continued: "Sometimes at the start of a season, the players are strong. At the end they are tired. That will make a difference.

"It is not just about being fit. Psychologically they need to be right as well. Only once I know what that situation is can I decide on the seven players who will stay with us."

Given the build-up to England's previous two World Cup finals campaigns were completely dominated by the broken metatarsals that ultimately did not stop David Beckham or Wayne Rooney play but badly restricted their effectiveness, Capello is right not to start planning too soon.

If Capello's private thoughts about James Milner's performance at left-back were similar to his public ones, the Aston Villa man's flexibility could get him to South Africa head of Wayne Bridge, even if Joe Cole finds form and fitness for Chelsea.

"Milner did well," said the Italian. "He is a really good player. He can play midfield, winger, left-back or right-back. He can play in every position apart from centre-forward and centre-back. That is very important."

While David Beckham can safely be shunted up from the possibles to the probables once another short-term loan at AC Milan is agreed. Capello said: "I spoke with David and told him if he wants to come to the World Cup with us, he has to come over here and play."

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Joe Cole
James Milner
Wayne Bridge
David Beckham
Premier League
Peter Crouch
Wayne Rooney
Aston Villa
Shaun Wright-Phillips

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