Fabio Capello might find his belief that results are everything being sorely tested as the aftermath of England’s 2-0 win over Wales on Saturday provided yet more questions about the Italian’s judgement.
Two days after claiming he did not think it was right to inform Rio Ferdinand he had lost the captain’s armband by telephone, Steven Gerrard, who led the Three Lions during the ill-fated World Cup campaign, revealed Capello had contacted him to say exactly that.
In addition, Capello withdrew five members of his squad, including John Terry and vice-captain Frank Lampard, for tomorrow’s friendly with Ghana, meaning he has to find another skipper.
If that wasn’t bad enough, Capello has also admitted he failed to remind Wayne Rooney – another of the players released – that he was one yellow card away from a suspension prior to Saturday’s clash at the Millennium Stadium, then skirted round what is brewing into a club versus country row over the release of players to the European Under-21 Championships in Denmark this summer.
The scenario is almost too bizarre to be believed and will leave Capello to face more uncomfortable questions when he is convinced the focus should be on the Three Lions’ rapid improvement.
“I did actually get a call,” Gerrard told Sky Sports.
“The manager spoke to me and just explained what he’d been doing; he didn’t have to.
“The manager’s paid to make big decisions and he’s made the decision and I think we all have to respect it and move on.”
Gerrard may find that is not quite so easy, even if Ferdinand seems to be willing to let the matter rest, especially after Capello’s revelation over Rooney, who was stunned to learn the booking he collected for a foul on Joe Ledley had ruled him out of a crucial Group G encounter with Switzerland on June 4.
“Usually we remind them. This time we didn’t,” said the England coach, who then claimed he replaced Rooney 20 minutes from time to ensure the striker didn’t get sent off, even though he had played for over half an hour with the threat hanging over him.
“Rooney wants to win every tackle. I changed him because he would have been sent off with a second yellow card.”
Wilshere is the other area of contention.
Arsene Wenger has already declared England should decide whether Wilshere is now regarded as a senior player or a member of Stuart Pearce’s Under-21 squad.
Wenger’s point is that the 19-year-old should not be asked to face Switzerland and then be selected for the European Under-21 Championships later the same month.
Pearce, backed by senior FA figures, feels that whilst Wilshere is undoubtedly a member of Capello’s squad, the experience of tournament football will be invaluable to his progression and wants him at the finals.
“Wilshere is really important for us but I don’t have exclusive rights over him,” said Capello.
“He is playing a lot of games this season and he will be playing in the summer.
“But it is the same for players at the Copa America and this tournament is important.”