Capello: I only need 100 words of English to lead Three Lions
Published 23:01 28/03/11 By Martin Lipton
We always knew Fabio Capello was a man of few words. We just didn’t know how few.
But after a week which has been dominated by communications breakdowns, Capello’s decision to reveal he feels his English vocabulary barely needs to go beyond double figures perhaps explains why the Italian has made such a mess of getting his message across.
Capello, already irritated by news of Jose Mourinho’s intervention in his affairs, bridled when quizzed over his command of English.
More than three years after he came into the job promising to be fluent within weeks, Capello still possesses only a passing understanding of the only language spoken by the vast majority of his dressing room.
Like it or not, it is an issue. And Capello clearly does not like it.
“I don’t know if my English is good enough,” replied Capello, before turning on his inquisitors. “I think when I speak with the players they understand everything.
“Do you understand me? Yes? So why this question? How many languages do you speak?
“I think, in this job, what’s important is when you speak with the players.
“If I need to speak about the economy or other things, I can’t do that. But when you speak about tactics, you don’t use a lot of words. I don’t have to speak about a lot of different things.
"Maximum 100 words.”
Just 100 words - which presumably don’t include “sorry”.
While Capello insisted he is attempting to come to terms with the culture of his adopted home, he is not always convincing.
“I am still having lessons and I try to improve every day,” he added. “I listen to radio, watch the television. I study as well.
“When I watch on television, I put the subtitles on. I watch different programmes. Football, yes, always football. But other sports, some films, some different things.
“With accents, I understand when people come from the north, or from London. I’ve studied them very well. The others are so-so.”
Hard to imagine Capello sitting down to watch Eastenders or Coronation Street, but he would really have struggled with Brookside or Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.
That limited command perhaps goes to show why he still insists it would have been wrong to pick up the phone to tell Rio Ferdinand he was being relieved of command, but it was okay to use the blower to inform Steven Gerrard he was demoted from the vice-captaincy.
Yet in Capello’s mind, what is important is that actions speak louder than any of the words he utters.
And against Ghana tonight, as he sends out a shadow side led by Gareth Barry (the seventh starting skipper of his reign), Capello does believe his players can show there is genuine squad depth that was not there before.
Andy Carroll’s second start, Gary Cahill's first and chances for Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines and Jermain Defoe - with Jack Wilshere in for Scott Parker’s after a calf injury relegated him to the bench - is, perhaps, a sign that the cupboard is not as bare as we feared last summer.
“I think the squad is deeper now than when I came here," said Capello. "It’s good, because some players have improved a lot.
“When they started they were young but now is a good moment for Ashley Young, Milner, Adam Johnson - even though he’s not here.
“And now we have some new players like Wilshere and Carroll, really good players.
“These are the games where I can find out the value of the other players, and that will be important, absolutely.”
Capello has been criticised in some quarters for releasing John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney and Michael Dawson back to their clubs, but remained unrepentant over that and the scheduling of the friendly.
“If these players had played, that would have been four games in 10 days and that’s a lot,” said the Italian. “Out of respect for the players, respect for the clubs, I decided that these players can go home.
“In this period, if you are tired at the end of the season, it’s possible to get a really bad injury.
“I know the fans bought their tickets in advance, before they knew this, but it will still be really interesting to get to know some England players playing here.
“Playing for England is different to playing for their clubs. The England shirt is really heavy and it will be interesting for the fans, but more for me, to see the value of the players when they play here.
“If the qualifier had been on Tuesday, we would not have played a friendly on Saturday but when we play in the week we only get to stay together for two days.
“This is a good period to stay together, create a group, create a spirit.”
And maybe catch up on the soaps, Fabio?
Answers in 100 words.
TEN WORDS NOT IN CAPELLO’S LEXICON
Sorry ...as in Rio
Win ...as in World Cup
Press ...as in I read all the papers
Brilliant ...as in World Cup
Beer ...as in enjoy one, lads
Mobile ...as in bring it with you at mealtime
Michael ...as in Owen
Contract ...as in ‘no need to renegotiate it’
Goalscorer ...as in Emile Heskey
Index ...as in Capello
TEN THAT ARE
Sorry ...as in Steven Gerrard
Win ...as in qualifiers
Press ...as in “close Wales down”
Soaps ...as in “Let’s watch Corrie”
Best ...as in “win and I am the..”
S**t ...as in “lose and I am ...”
Normal ...as in see above
Saviour ...as in Jack Wilshere
Future ...as in Andy Carroll
Holiday ...as in most of the year
ENGLAND v GHANA: THREE TO WATCH
John Mensah: Injury-plagued Sunderland stopper was sent off on his last outing for the Black Cats, but kept Andy Carroll quiet in that game and will look for a repeat tonight.
Prince Tagoe: Powerful 6ft 2in Hoffenheim striker. Currently on loan at Partizan Belgrade and has scored five in six games for the Serbian side.
Asamoah Gyan: Has proved his point with 10 goals for Sunderland in his first season in England despite playing second-fiddle to Darren Bent until January.
ENGLAND v GHANA TEAM LINE-UPS
England (4-3-3): Hart; Johnson, Jagielka, Cahill, Baines; Wilshere, Barry, Milner; Defoe, Young, Carroll.
Ghana (4-4-2): Kingson; Paintsil, John Mensah, Jonathan Mensah, Sarpei; Annan, Muntari, Kwadko Asamoah, Andre Ayew; Tagoe, Gyan.
Referee: Cuynet Cakir (Turkey)