Angry Capello planning crunch meeting with England stars
Published 23:00 23/02/10 By Martin Lipton
When Fabio Capello reads the riot act, there is only one response.
And for the players who will shuffle nervously into the meeting room at the Grove Hotel, near Watford on Sunday night, they have to show it from minute one.
Capello has watched on in impotent indignation as half of his first-choice defenders have found themselves splashed across the front pages of every newspaper for their personal conduct.
John Terry’s affair with Wayne Bridge’s former girlfriend saw him stripped of the captaincy, Ashley Cole’s alleged liaisons with a series of girls have seemingly ended his marriage, while even new captain Rio Ferdinand was at the centre of a potential kiss-and-tell story.
For Capello, who prides himself on getting the fine details of preparations right, it has been utterly unacceptable, a breakdown in personal discipline that has seem him bristle with fury.
Now the Italian is planning his next move, preparing to tear a strip off his entire squad, not just those who have dragged their collective reputation through the gutter.
Capello knows he must lay down the law, must let his players know he will no longer tolerate such behaviour, that the ultimate price will be paid by any who choose not to abide by his rules and regulations.
“The players have to understand what I want if they want to stay with me,” warned the Italian, after finishing a workshop of World Cup coaches that was overshadowed by the condition faced by many teams at their planned training bases.
“That is very important because we need to create the group.
“The England shirt is very important and for me this will be one of the most important points that we speak about.”
Capello added: “After a four-month break, we will meet the players next week for a very important game.
“Part of that is to talk about how important it is to behave well when you are representing England. I will talk to the players about this issue, it is very important.
“I will not tell you now what I will say. That is between me and the players. It is personal.
“But a lot of the things we talk about and do next week will be important because four months is a long time not to see them.
“If you can meet the players every month it is different. This has been a long time and we will have two days to spend together and they will be really strong days and I will let the players know my message for them.”
Quizzed over whether the events of the past month might have had damaging repercussions for England’s World Cup campaign, Capello was determined, forthright and insistent.
“No it will not,” he maintained. “The World Cup is really important for me, for England and for the players.
“We have to stay together and be compact in every moment. This will be my most important job, to recreate the spirit we had in the qualification campaign.
“I am not interested in the stories. That is not my job, although I have read a lot of things. The pitch is different. Out of the pitch everyone can make their different things. But the players will be told what I expect.”