Capello to leave it late

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Football News

Fabio Capello will stick to the habit of a lifetime and not tell his players the England team to face the United States on Saturday night until two hours before kick-off.

Rather than fill them with dread and anxiety, not knowing whether they have a performance to prepare for or not, Capello insists his formula brings major benefits because it ensures every single member of his squad will be fully tuned in for the start of their World Cup campaign.

"I always decide to speak with the players at the last moment," said Capello. "Sometimes the pressure is bigger but it means all the players are ready to play. They will be ready physically and mentally and they will be fully focused waiting to see who will play. That is why I only tell them two hours before kick-off."

Only one man has been ruled out; Gareth Barry, who will start on the bench. It means Robert Green, Joe Hart and David James can still dream of being first-choice keeper and Liverpool team-mates Jamie Carragher and Glen Johnson can both think they will start at right-back.

Skipper Steven Gerrard will definitely play, but will it be alongside Frank Lampard in central midfield or wide on the left, where Joe Cole thought he was going to get a game.

Capello believes he has plausible options in Michael Carrick and James Milner, who the Italian has confirmed is fit to start.

He added: "Milner has said he is okay. He is fit and available to play."

One of the few players who has no need to concern himself about whether he has made it into Capello's chosen XI is Wayne Rooney.

If Gerrard does drop back alongside Lampard, even more of the attacking responsibility will fall on the Manchester United man's shoulders, but Capello is convinced he can carry it, just as he believes Rooney's temperament will not be an issue, having already had a chat with the 24-year-old to tell him to cool it.

"Rooney played all the games in qualification and had no problems with the referee," he said. "I spoke with him and I hope it will be the same in the World Cup."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Joe Cole
David James
Joe Hart
James Milner
Gareth Barry
Glen Johnson
Premier League
Michael Carrick
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney
Steven Gerrard
Jamie Carragher
Robert Green

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