By Myles Edwards 7 February 2008
Instead of jetting off to Austria and Switzerland this summer, for a change England will be a square-eyed nation left to reflect on what could have been.
Fabio Capello, England manager. Had this decision been made 16 months earlier, English football would not be in a state of disarray and Steve McClaren would have more hairs on his head along with a reputation worth protecting.
Capello and McClaren. Two very different animals. One, a confident domestic cat suddenly thrown in with far more than Three lions. The other a rotweiller, a heavyweight champion boasting a record of 6 and 0. Six managerial posts, zero failures.
Maclaren strayed into unfamiliar territory and was clearly out of his depth. However, not here to criticise McClaren, he seemed like a nice guy. England don’t need ‘mr nice guy’, they require a ruthless manager who has a proven record of managing big name players.
Had England called on Capello 16 months previously, it is somewhat unlikely that a 3-0 victory over Andorra would have provoked a mob of bullish English ‘supporters’ to launch abuse and tickets in disgust at the performance of their, once successful, nation.
Capello comes with the approval of Sir Alex Ferguson, arguably the greatest. However, as did a certain Mr Maclaren. So, instead, we should turn to Mr Capello’s bulging and impressive CV as a source of back up.
Twice with AC Milan and Real Madrid Fabio Capello has delivered numerous pieces of silverware. Success seems to follow him everywhere. Spells with AS Roma and Juventus were no exception. His success even stretches to Wembley; in November 1973 he scored the winner for Italy against England.
It is not just success alone that follows Capello. Emerson and Fabio Cannavaro played under Capello at Juventus between 2004 and 2006, and then followed him to Real Madrid in 2006. Prior to Capello’s appointment at Juventus he had also brought Emerson to AS Roma in 2000. Ironically Emerson is now with AC Milan, where Capello enjoyed two successful spells.
Capello’s ruthless nature is well documented. This is exactly what England need to dig them out of their deepest crisis in decades. Despite having worked with his loyal stalwart, Emerson, for seven years, Capello dropped him in January 2007 and didn’t recall him to the team until May, when he felt that he had worked hard enough to improve his form. The results were there for all to see. Beckham was dropped by Capello when he agreed to sign for LA Galaxy. However Beckham worked so hard and declared his determination to help the team’s title bid that Capello recalled him. Beckham and Capello went on to win their first title in Spain. Francesco Totti and Alesandro Del Piero both fell out with Capello at their respective clubs, showing that Capello has no fear of managing some of the biggest players in the world.
A clean slate has been promised to all England players but Beckham has a great chance of getting his 100th international cap as soon as he is match fit as they both know what to expect from one another.
What do England need to succeed? Fabio Capello. In the unlikely event that Capello fails for the first time in his career, it would take years to resurrect England from the depths of despair and England fans can expect to trade their sunglasses and flip flops for the sofas and televisions of their blossoming Scottish neighbours. Who knows, the mirale worker Capello may even find a way to include Emerson in his latest recipe for success.