Fabio Capello announced his team selection on Saturday, his version of England Redux for this week’s friendly against Hungary that no one seems to want. The thinking was the game would prove to be cathartic for players, fans and the gaffer himself… a chance for brave Albion to regain their dignity and confidence.
But of course, no one is happy. Capello brought in several players who didn’t make the trip to South Africa, including something we haven’t seen for years: the selection of more than one Arsenal player. However Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs, and Jack Wilshire weren’t exactly starters last year. None of them played more than 16 games apiece. It’ll be interesting to see how Capello uses them, especially after Walcott’s uninspired performance this summer.
The media had called for wholesale change after the Bombing of Bloemfontein. But Capello was as defiant of the pundits as he was of John Terry’s “rebellion”, keeping Captain Schtupping and Co. in the side despite his insolence. Don Fabio also tried to soothe feelings… but some players didn’t forget their World Cup snub. Both Wes Brown and Paul Robinson said “Thank you, no”. In this writer’s opinion, no big loss.
Capello has found out that being England manager is a thankless task… trying to appease a nation full of unrealistic expectations with a team of mediocre millionaires. Some sections of the media already believe that Capello is a dead man walking.
Those rumours are given even more weight because his supposed successor is suddenly free of his club obligations now that Martin O’Neill has quit Aston Villa just five days before the start of the Premier League season. The bookmakers have him at two-to-one odds that he will be next to lead the Three Lions. But he may find Randy Lerner’s stinginess preferable to the smothering expectations of the top job in England.