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Capello Lays The Groundwork For Future England Managers

england-fa-badgeWhat a difference two years make. In November, 2007, England succumbed to Croatia at Wembley by a scoreline of 2-3 and thus surrendered their qualifying for Euro 2008. Cue the images of a fumbling Steve McClaren and an England team with so little confidence. Croatia, meanwhile, looked like world beaters.

Yesterday, it was a different story entirely and it was England who looked like world beaters while Croatia were completely outplayed.

In previous years, many EPL Talk readers had asked my opinion about why England were so poor and whether the England national team should still be considered a football power or not. At the time, it was quite perplexing. Was it the players who were that poor, but how could they fail so miserably in a mid-week yet play next to some of the best players in the world on the weekend in the Premier League?

When Fabio Capello was appointed England manager, people asked me what my thoughts were on the matter. My viewpoint at the time was that it would bring clarity to whether the England national team was still a football power or not. After all, if Capello couldn’t turn England into a winning football team, then no one could.

Thankfully for England fans (and anglophiles), Capello has completely turned England around from a team that had difficulty beating Andorra to one that is being touted as possibly the next World Cup champions. Capello’s dramatic transformation of the England team confirms that the English football managers before him were rubbish — namely Steve McClaren and Kevin Keegan.

My hope is that those England footballers who have aspirations of being football managers, who are playing under Fabio Capello, are acting like sponges and picking up on how Capello manages — everything from tactics to how he handles a dressing room to man-management and team selection. Players who I can see becoming managers in a decade from now include John Terry, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard and Emile Heskey.

Based on Capello’s immediate success, it’s going to be several years before the Football Association picks an English manager to run the team again. Sure, Capello hasn’t achieved anything yet other than qualifying for the World Cup. But even after Capello steps down from the England job, there will assuredly be another foreigner to step into his shoes to continue moving England forward. But at some point in the distant future, I can guarantee that one of Capello’s current crop of players will step up and become England manager, combining his personal style with a lot of the management skills and tactics that were learned from 2007 onwards.

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  1. Tom Hingley

    September 11, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    Heskey future manager? Laughable.

    • The Gaffer

      September 11, 2009 at 8:42 pm

      Stranger things have happened, but when you think about it, Heskey has been under the tutelage of several world class managers such as Martin O’Neill, Rafa Benitez, Fabio Capello, Steve Bruce and Gerard Houllier. If he’s been paying attention and has the desire, Heskey could give it a go as a manager after retirement as a footballer.

      The Gaffer

  2. DC

    September 10, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Let’s not count our chickens before they hatch. If we go out in the quarters nothing will have changed in my opinion.

  3. brn442

    September 10, 2009 at 11:00 am

    Gaffer, whilst I do agree with most of what you said, Steve Mc Claren was out of his depth. The image of the man hiding under his umbrella on that rainy day in Wembly as his disjointed team crashed out to Croatia was one of English Football’s low points.
    Credit to the F.A. for swallowing their pride and (again) hiring a foreign manager. Cappello’s team management, selection, and tactical awareness have been wonderful so far. Most importantly, unlike previous mangers, Cappello has the confidence not to be led or intimidated by the British press.
    Like you said, as good as it is to qualify for the World Cup with matches to spare, Cappello still has to take England through the acid test of competing in a real tournament, playing and EXPECTING – not hoping, to beat the likes of Brazil, Italy, and Germany, without being in awe of their players, without ball watching, without playing for a penalty shootout (considering England’s record in those.) It’s the glass ceiling they failed to crack in Italia 90, and Euro 98. This time, with Cappello’s confidence they should have as good a chance as in any in South Africa.


    September 10, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Plus Bilic riled up our players himself, practically motivating them for Capello to direct. Glad we hammered them, but I’m more glad the premiership is back this weekend!

  5. Sudonihm

    September 10, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Croatia was also playing without 2 of its best players yesterday – Modric and Corluka. Croatia is a good team, but they lack depth.

  6. oliver

    September 10, 2009 at 9:54 am

    It’s a little harsh to compare the team of two years ago to the one from yesterday. Two years ago we had Carson in goal, no Terry, Ferdinand or Cole in defence (I think three of the back four were Lescott/Campbell/Bridge) and no Rooney upfront. Added to that, we were under pressure to get a result.

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