Fabio Capello: I Have Decided Who Will Partner Wayne Rooney In Attack Against Croatia


But the Italian isn’t sure of England’s exact line-up.

England manager Fabio Capello was in a bullish mood ahead of his team’s World Cup qualifier with Croatia at Wembley tomorrow evening. The Italian maintained that there would be no talk of his side winning the tournament in South Africa next summer until they had secured their qualification, with “three finals” left to play to decide their fate.

Capello also played his cards close to his chest when it came to the key talking point of who will partner Wayne Rooney in attack against the dangerous Croatians. Most observers think that the starting place alongside the Manchester United forward comes down to a straight fight between Aston Villa’s Emile Heskey and Tottenham’s Jermain Defoe.

“Heskey and Defoe are two really important players for me,” Capello told reporters at a press conference today. “Different styles, but both very important. We will see tomorrow. In my mind I have decided.”

As usual, Capello was quick to warn against complacency:

“We have three finals to play,” he said. “Tomorrow will be the first. After against Ukraine and then last at home against Belarus. We have to one of these three finals or we have to draw some of these games.” 

“The most important thing is to arrive first in the group to go to South Africa.

“Croatia played very well in their last game against Belarus. They’ve won two games and it’s a good moment, but we also are in a good moment.

“I think every game is different. Tomorrow we will play at home and Croatia will play probably a different style, and we have to prepare for a different game. 

“All the players are fit. We have to choose 18, and I will choose tomorrow morning.”

Capello was also positive that Glen Johnson would shine in the game, after the Italian had sprung to his right-back’s defence following a couple of defensive lapses in the weekend friendly against Slovenia.

“I’m not defending him – I’m sure he is one of the best right-backs in the world,” the Italian asserted. “I’m happy with him. I’m happy with his performance. Sometimes he makes mistakes, but he’s one of the best players in the world. He will play really well tomorrow.”

The last time England and Croatia met, in Zagreb last September, Arsenal winger Theo Walcott notched a hat-trick. He is absent from this squad this time around, but Aaron Lennon is similarly blessed with blistering pace.

Capello maintained that he had yet to decide exactly what his final line-up would be:

“In Zagreb Walcott played very well – he scored three goals. Theo Walcott is not here, and Lennon is another young player, a good player. I have to choose between three players who will be on the pitch tomorrow.”

The Italian also urged all the England fans to get behind the team, and called for an end to the booing of Joloen Lescott, heard at Wembley last Saturday.

“I don’t understand why they boo Lescott. I want our supporters to help the players not boo. He’s one player of England. All the players are the England team. You have to support us,” he pleaded.

“At Wembley we are playing well. We won all the games we’ve played here and we play with confidence at Wembley. Tomorrow I think we’ll play very well.

“It is good to have such important players. Some are the best in the world. I have confidence in all the players and I think we can do sic very important results. First we have to go to the World Cup, afterwards we can speak about winning it.”


~ by footballdirecta on September 8, 2009.

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