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experience could be asset

And while he is quickly becoming aware of the huge weight of expectation of a nation which hasn’t won anything since 1966, he wasn’t around to feel the blast of acrimony aimed at previous coaches Eriksson and Steve McClaren.

justify>Capello is the third man to take charge of England in 18 months.

Eriksson departed two years early because he couldn’t get England further than the quarterfinals of the 2002 and 2006 World Cups and the 2004 European Championship. McClaren was fired for failing to qualify the team for Euro 2008.

Bearing in mind two of those eliminations were after penalty shootouts, some nations might accept them. To England, however, these failures are shameful.

With a Premier League growing in strength financially year by year and many millions coming into the game through TV revenue, English soccer is vibrant. Premier League clubs have even reached the last three Champions League finals.

It’s a shame the national team isn’t basking in the same glory, however.

One of the problems is that the number of English players active in each round of Premier League matches has shrunk to around a third. Foreign players are taking over, with Arsenal frequently fielding lineups without a single Englishman and several others with only two or three.

That means Capello will have fewer to choose from than he thinks, and would suggest that David Beckham, Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen, Gerrard, Lampard, John Terry and others should appear certain to be in Capello’s starting lineup for his first game against Switzerland on February 6.

In Capello’s mind, Beckham’s not even penciled in even though he played under the coach in Real Madrid’s Spanish League championship triumph last season.

Capello dropped Beckham when the star announced in January he was leaving Madrid at the end of the season to join the Los Angeles Galaxy. He again picked the former England captain when Beckham proved in training that he was worthy of a recall, and his return to form played a major part in Madrid’s 30th league title.

“I had a thorny relationship with David at Madrid but he showed himself to be a great player and a great man,” Capello said. “I think Beckham, when he sets himself something he will achieve it. But I will have to make choices. I believe that Beckham is an important player for England and I will take him in serious consideration. However,
there’s still a month to go before the first game, so there’s still time.”

If Capello’s saying Beckham’s not guaranteed a place, imagine what that means to the others.

“I expect Capello to be very hard on the players,” said Marcel Desailly, a former France player who was on the Italian’s successful AC Milan team. “And I hope the players take it in the right way, otherwise it will be a very difficult moment because Capello wants to control everything.” — AP

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