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The Fears of a Clown

The Fears of a Clown

For some reason Capello has always appeared to me to have the face of a clown without his makeup. Maybe, with that thought in mind, for me he will always cut something of a stumbling comic figure that somehow has convinced those in power he is made for a job he seems to me ill equipped to do. Sometimes doors just open for you as for the simple gardener that Peter Sellers once played in a film in which he eventually became President of the US. George W later went on to prove that truth can be just as strange as fiction.

The timidity with which Capello went about his squad and team selection for the World Cup shows nothing of the innovative, creative, tactically aware coaching genius he is supposed to be. Though he has had an impressive record in the arthritic football of Serie A, like many Italian coaches of his age he doesn`t really trust youth and is always likely to make what he thinks are safe choices.

Maybe that`s why I find his advice to Gibbs and Wilshere to seek to go elsewhere on loan or whatever if they don`t get enough playing time at Arsenal in order to further their international prospects the thoughtless musings of a clown. Wilshere was only picked for England because he spent some time last season on loan to Bolton he claims. No he wasn`t he was picked because he is a precociously talented Arsenal player that had already gained plenty of exposure before going on loan to Bolton. Had he been on loan from Crystal Palace he wouldn`t have got anything like the recognition he did. By contrast Gibbs only played 7 times for Arsenal last season but his quality was still able to be recognised by the national team. Unsettling players at such a young age with clumsily veiled threats that their international prospects could be harmed if they aren`t first choice with their clubs is both disingenuous and disruptive.

There was a time, not too long ago, when the young England side, and thereby the stepping stone to the full side, was the U23`s. With that in mind telling 18 year old Wilshere that he should be agitating now for a first team place instead of reassuring him that he has possibly another 18 years, literally a lifetime in his terms, of a professional career in front of him if he takes care of himself properly is just promoting impatience and unreasonable expectations - both of and from the player. International football reaps the benefits of the work of others - it does nothing itself to improve the quality of players. In fact forcing them to play ill timed and meaningless international friendlies is among the most counterproductive of demands on professional players. Let the clubs manage their own players - that`s how they get where they are now in the first place.

Capello`s ability to speak English is improving but doesn`t yet match his ability to speak Rubbish.

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Date:Tuesday August 10 2010
Time: 1:07AM


What a weird one, just when I'd thought that the English set up had exhausted every which way to criticise Arsenal for something or other, Capello comes up with this gem. Before we were wrong for not having enough English players and now we're wrong for having them at the club at all. What?
Professor Calculus
10/08/2010 04:35:00
Capello was exposed at the world cup for the archaic coach that he is. Dated formations, dated tactics and dated player preparation drills. There is NOTHING innovative about Capello at all and the only reason he is still England coach is that the FA is baulking at the massive compensation package he would be due if he were sacked now. I hope our young players do better than listening to Capello. Gibbs and Wilshere's own self interest is better aligned with our club's interest than the national team's.
10/08/2010 06:34:00
At least both players carry with them enough intelligence to acknowledge their number 1 goal being to play regular with Arsenal. I find this whole debate over why England are so crap very amusing! Instead of figuring out ridiculous rules to get more English players into the top teams, perhaps they should investigate why English players do not play in other leagues across Europe?? Because they are greedy Pre-Madonnas!!
10/08/2010 08:01:00
In fairness Capello's record is not to be sniffed at in such a way. He also won La Liga a couple of times and doesn't have a bad record in the Champions League either! La Liga may be a two horse race, but you have to ask yourself seriously if England is much different. It's also worth remembering that Serie A may be arthritic now, but when Capello built that Milan side of the early 90s it was the top league on the planet. He also won Serie A with an unfancied Roma side, which is roughly the equivalent of of someone taking Spurs to the title in England. His comments about Wilshere and Gibbs are unhelpful and a bit stupid for sure, but as a manager it's difficult to question him- certainly at club level anyway. And for his squad selection this summer, I'm intrigued to know who exactly it is he left at home that would have prevented England being spanked by Germany? Darren Bent? Scott Parker? A team that didn't qualify for the last tournament and has a history of 2nd round/ QF exits shouldn't be too despondant when that equlibrium is restored.
Little Dutch
10/08/2010 08:19:00
I'ce accepted that his Italian record is impressive. The major part of Capello's successes were with a dominant Milan side 15 to 20 years ago. He seems to me tailor made for the type of risk averse football that Serie A has become as noted for as it has for its lowly attendance figures. That he has won something with Real on a couple of occassions isn't any great surprise but not apparently in a manner that has delivered much satisfaction. As for his England selection my point is exactly that. He picked all the players that the media and popular opinion told him he should pick and played all the players he was expected to play irrespective of whether it was a balanced format or not. If Howard Wilkinson were Italian he'd be Fabio Capello.
10/08/2010 08:53:00
But again, I have to ask what else his choices were? Schumacher wouldn't have won a Grand Prix in a Vauxhall Astra, Capello was stuck with what he had. I don't doubt that had Wenger of Ferguson been in charge of that lot in the summer, that the result wouldn't have been much different.
Little Dutch
10/08/2010 09:07:00
I always feel a little reluctant to offer opinions on the national team. I don't really care enough about the way England turnout to think too deeply about what the options are and if I did it isn't possible to prove any other choices would have been better or worse. Capello isn't alone in picking both Gerrard and Lampard to play in a formation that only has room for one of them but you just know he isn't going to be the one to take that brave a decision to leave one out. Similarly maybe there weren't any other options to Emile Heskey but somehow he seems just the sort of player that Capello would pick. What you can say is that for a man whose coaching credentials are enough to put him into a stratospheric pay league compared to those who'd gone before him he hasn't so far added anything of value that suggests he is even as good as those he has succeeded. Frankly I couldn't care less who is England manager but someone so clearly playing to the gallery as Capello does should at least have the courtesy to ensure his patronisation of young players, that he probably won't pick when the crunch decisions have to be made, doesn't encourage a distorted view of where their real professional interests lie.
10/08/2010 09:29:00
LD, no doubt Capello will go down in history as a great manager. But what about now? I do think his style of regimented management, controlled play and no creativity is a form of attritional football which is past its sell by date.
10/08/2010 10:17:00
I think his hand was forced with the Gerrard Lampard thing due to the injury to Barry (which goes to prove the point about paucity of choice when Barry is such a pivotal player) and the fact that Hargreaves is suffering Rosicky disease, even going so far as trying to tempt Scholes out of retirement. He found a way around the Gerrard and Lampard axis in qualifying but had to ditch the formation due to unavailability of players. That the F.A. pays him astronomical wages is more down to the F.A. than Capello (they even reportedly dithced one of his release clauses this summer). I think Capello is playing to the gallery because he sees that a) his players are average and b) they're paralysed by fear every time thay play for their country. He'd probably desperately like to turn around and tell everyone his players aren't all that and the best everyone should hope for is a quarter final place. Probably much like Wenger would like to have told everyone between 2005-07 that the pursestrings are tight and we'll just try and hang onto 4th for a couple of years. But that would destroy the confidence of his players even further. But yes, I am in agreement that the comments around Wilshere and Gibbs are idiotic. I stand by my comparison between international football and the Royal Family; decorative, expensive, contributes nothing, takes everything and expects you to consider it an honour.
Little Dutch
10/08/2010 10:22:00
DF, I think you could make a better argument that Capello's methods aren't suited to international football, but I don't buy that he's a football dinosaur as he has recent success; it's not just all from the early 90s. Whether or not Capello feels that and alters his outlook slightly remains to be seen. What I do think is worth noting is that his qualification record was the most emphatic ever achieved by an England manager. Now I know they were hardly playing world beaters, but Slovenia and Algeria are not exactly troubling the higher end of the world rankings either. For whatever reason, his players were paralysed by fear on the big stage- as they have been for some time now. Similarly, there was no reason for him not to persist with Heskey, who was key in qualifying. In fact, I think dropping him was one of his biggest mistakes, it was the first time he had really bowed to the press and I think it cost him. You may say qualifying and the tournament are different things, but I think you could level a similar criticism at Wenger. i.e. playing nine upfront will see us beat Bolton 5-2, but against United and Chelsea, we will get annihilated.
Little Dutch
10/08/2010 10:57:00
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