England manager Fabio Capello has been encouraged by the performance of his players in training in the wake of the negative headlines surrounding the camp in recent weeks.
Lurid headlines regarding John Terry's private life, his subsequent removal as captain of the national team and Wayne Bridge's decision to make himself unavailable for selection have dominated the agenda. Steven Gerrard will captain the side against Egypt on Wednesday in the absence of the injured Rio Ferdinand, who was promoted to skipper following Terry's demotion.
"I spoke with the players and said they have to recreate the spirit of the team and train with focus," Capello explained. "I'm really happy because I saw the same thing as in November (in the friendly against Brazil in Doha)."
There are fears of a fans' backlash against Terry at Wembley, but Capello has joined with striker Wayne Rooney in urging Three Lions supporters not to give the Chelsea skipper a hard time.
"I think the fans have to support every moment," he said. "You have to understand that privately some players were not so good, but on the pitch it is different.
"We wear the England shirt and it is really important they help us every moment. I hope that tomorrow the crowd help us and do not boo him."
On Terry's mental state ahead of the game, Capello added: "He is training very well. He will be the same player in the dressing room. I told him you have to do the same things as a captain."
Gerrard has urged everyone to "move on" from the controversy surrounding Terry and Bridge and focus on England's bid to win the World Cup, while denying that team spirit has been fractured in the wake of the allegations.
"Nothing has changed, the team spirit and togetherness has been fantastic over the last couple of days," said the Liverpool midfielder. The manager did reiterate our responsibilities both on and of the pitch, but he has done that from day one. The message is to move on, forget about it and concentrate on football."
"A lot has been said about players' private lives. I think it's time for everyone to move on and get behind the team. It's important we are all as one moving forward."
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