Why the return of Terry as England captain is just the start of a revitalised Capello's plan to make up for the shame of the World Cup
For his starter, he dined on artichokes. For his main course, he had minestrone. And for dessert, he chewed on a rather gristly old piece of Rio Ferdinand.
Fabio Capello looked dapper and trim as he sat down to lunch in one of his favourite London restaurants yesterday.
The weariness that had afflicted him in recent months had gone and there was eagerness in his eyes again.
So instead of seeming chastened or humbled by his plans to reverse his decision to strip John Terry of the England captaincy , he was energised by them.
It sounded as though Capello wanted to make a fresh start all round.
The ditching of Ferdinand and the rehabilitation of Terry was just the start of it.
Capello, 64, also said that if England qualify for Euro 2012, instead of flogging the players at a pre-tournament training camp, he will let them sit on the beach for a week.
And he hinted that though he doubted Jack Wilshere when he first played for England, he was now his first choice in midfield.
The old dog has surprised us all by learning some new tricks.
And after the shame of South Africa, he looked like he was ready to take on the world again.
That is partly because, deep down, he always knew that Terry was the right man to wear the armband.
And partly because this moment in his troubled England reign is beginning to feel like a rebirth.
Wayne Rooney, Capello feels, is on the verge of rediscovering his form and Wilshere's performance for Arsenal against Barcelona at the Emirates made even Capello's eyes widen.
But it is the restoration of Terry as skipper that may symbolise England's return to the happy certainties of the first two years of Capello's time in charge.
To Capello, it feels like a relief to be on the brink of reappointing the captain he never wanted to lose in the first place.
He bowed to pressure from the FA and the media when he took the honour away from him in the wake of allegations about his personal life.But the decision was one of the reasons why England failed so dismally at the World Cup last summer.
Since then, the armband has been passed between Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole and Gareth Barry.
A leadership vacuum has developed and Capello believes that is one of the reasons why England's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign has showed signs of faltering.
Capello is also aware that Ferdinand is no longer Manchester United captain and that has helped to push him towards making Terry national skipper again.
The England boss said he was ready to accept any criticism that might come his way for reappointing the controversial Chelsea star as captain.
He said he trusted Terry not to make any more of the kind of mistakes that might land him on the front pages.
"He's old enough to understand that it's an important rule as England captain, Chelsea captain and one of the most important players in the world," Capello said.
"In England, you always look for something critical about the players, and little things are really big for you.
"But it is important to remember that even though Rio was captain, my first captain was John Terry, then Rio, then Steven Gerrard.
"Rio was a good captain, Steve was a good captain, John Terry was a good captain - but my first choice was John Terry. After the mistake, Rio was the vice-captain, so he became captain."
Solving one problem often creates another and Capello will now have to try to placate Ferdinand, who is bemused by the latest turn of events.
It is thought Ferdinand was assured by the England management team that he would remain captain in the long term, even if he missed the Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales later this month.
But Capello made it clear yesterday that if he made Terry captain for the Wales game, it would not be just for one match.
He was asked if his choice would be 'for good'.
"Absolutely," he said.
Capello will not worry about upsetting Ferdinand anyway. If he has decided he wants to make a change, he will be as ruthless with Rio as he was with Terry.
"I hope to meet with Rio tomorrow," Capello said. "I'm not sure of my decision. First of all I want to know what happened to his back, when he's fit. He's a really important player for us.
"After, I will explain to him what really happened and what I will do in the next week, if I will decide for a new captain or about John Terry.
"I understand if Rio is not happy. But as a manager I have to make decisions."