Sunday, 20 June 2010
Will Capello Change Course?
It was interesting to hear John Terry on Radio 5 today. I only caught the end of the interview but he sounded very much like the "captain" of the squad to me, accepting responsibility for the poor showing thus far and making it clear that he would be "the first out of the dressing room" to face up, should it all go wrong on Wednesday.
Can it really go wrong though? Is it really possible that we could crash out of a group consisting of Algeria, the USA, Slovenia and ourselves? If we do, it will be one of the greatest shocks ever in the history of sport! But anything less than a victory and we are coming home, and if we don't beat Slovenia by a bigger margin that the USA beat Algeria, then we are coming home after the quarter final anyway. The stakes on Wednesday are high, incedibly high.
The blame game has started already. Of course the players must shoulder a lot of the responsibility, nobody is denying that, but Capello has made his share of mistakes too. The arguments will rage about the wisdom of calling King and Carragher into the squad but, with one injured and the other suspended, I think we can conclude that both were bad picks anyway, regardless of the damage they may have had on team morale. Watching Wright-Phillips against Algeria, I am happy to state categorically that he was a bad selection too. Walcott may be erratic but he is much better than SWP, whilst Adam Johnson would have offered balance on the left.
I, like many, am puzzled by the exclusion of Crouch from the starting line ups. His scoring record for England against "lesser nations" is nothing less than sensational. We needed goals against Algeria so Crouch had to be the better bet than Heskey. That was unquestionably an error on Capello's part, as was the decision to leave the shape "as was" when replacing Lennon with SWP. Does Capello change course and pick Crouch now, staying with 4-4-2, or does he throw the beanpole out with the bath water, and change the shape as well as the personnel, opting for Gerrard, Lampard and Cole behind Rooney, as I suggested after the USA game?
Now these errors do not make Capello a bad manager overnight. His record is too good for us to reach that conclusion. But great managers can make mistakes - look at Ramsey's substitution decisions in 1970. And remember, the players had to have a chat with Sir Bobby Robson in 1990, persuading him to rethink the formation ahead of the final group game. Robson listened; will Capello? Or is he too long in the tooth, too arrogant to do so? Let's hope not! If Heskey jogs out to start on Wednesday, we will know that Capello has lost the plot completely!
Posted by Hammersfan at 14:02