Decision time for Capello


A series of meaningless friendlies under his belt, its time for Fabio Capello to get serious as he faces the biggest decision of his tenure so far – who will lead his team.

In the aftermath of England’s easy but underwhelming win over Trinidad and Tobago, Capello revealed he had whittled down his prospective candidates to two.

The four in the running are David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard and John Terry, Capello’s captains in his first four games, but press reports have said the “two” mentioned by Capello are Ferdinand and Terry.

Oh, when will England be blessed with a manager that learns from previous mistakes?

John Terry’s tenure as England captain showed that England do not need a defender as captain.

Terry, an influential and inspirational captain at Chelsea, could not exert his influence as England captain despite working in tandem with Ferdinand in what should be the most formidable defensive line in Europe.

I would envisage Ferdinand to have a similar impact upon the team as Terry did during his time as captain under Steve McLaren.

England’s tame surrender in the Euro 2008 qualifiers was a signal that the team required a leader, one that could drag them back into games from the brink of oblivion, which means Steven Gerrard can be the only option.

The moment he had the extra burden of responsibility thrust upon him when made Liverpool captain, Gerrard embraced it and his game improved markedly.

Admittedly his form for England has had its highs and lows, however he has been the victim of his own versatility and forced to repeatedly play out of position, but there is no denying his class.

On countless occasions he has pulled results out of nowhere for his team at the highest level, Champions League games against Olympiakos and AC Milan, and the FA Cup “Gerrard Final” spring to mind.

It is this kind of determination and inspiration that England need to ensure safe passage to World Cup 2010, and Capello needs to recognise where others have failed to.

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Hughes could prove the unlikely casualty of managerial merry-go-round

As Sven Goran Eriksson’s departure from Manchester City was finally confirmed and Chelsea upped their search for a new man at the Bridge the unlikely casualty of the whole episode could be Blackburn’s Mark Hughes.

The former Manchester United striker has worked wonders in his role at Ewood Park with a unerring eye for picking up transfer bargains such as David Bentley, Benni McCarthy and Roque Santa Cruz.

But with the Welshman linked to both jobs, already having held talks with City, he may be undone by his own ambition.

In his time with the Rovers’ Hughes has been backed by the board, with the power-keepers more than happy to let him steadily progress in his role.

However, with Grant and Eriksson only given mere months to bring sweeping success to their clubs it is unlikely that Hughes would be afforded more time in either role.

Hughes would do well to remember the plight of Bolton’s Sam Allardyce.

Big Sam slowly built his reputation at the Reebok stadium, only to have it torn to shreds in less than hale a season at Newcastle United.

Even though Hughes appears to hold the key to a golden managerial future he should choose his next move very carefully.