Why England`s under-achieving superstars cannot blame Fabio Capello for World Cup woes

When Wayne Rooney sarcastically declared "Nice to see your own fans booing you," into a TV camera after England`s disappointing 0-0 draw against Algeria he seriously misjudged the mood of the nation and the 40,000 England fans in the Green Point stadium.

An hour later in the stadium`s mixed zone Peter Crouch delivered a more well balanced view on the jeers. "Obviously it`s disappointing, we want to give our fans something to cheer about.

We know they made a real big effort to get here and it`s a shame we didn`t put on a show for them tonight. We will have to work hard in training and try and get the win we need against Slovenia."

Crouch rightly acknowledged that after a poor performance the best remedy was to get back onto the training pitch and work, work, work until this team finally clicks into gear.

England`s boo boys have often been wide off the mark in the past, but on Friday I could not blame them for jeering that team off the pitch.

England played without passion and tempo against Algeria. For the second match in a row the players walked off without applauding their fans who had drowned out the vuvuzelas with their support before that dismal performance sucked the life out of them. All they got was Rooney`s bad-tempered missive.

So in the aftermath of that and with a must-win match looming against the most impressive
team of Group C, Slovenia, where do England go from here?

John Terry`s off-message suggestion that Capello`s strict rule, stubborn tactics and team selection had fostered tensions with the players was not what we needed to hear and frankly is not going to wash with the English public.

Yes they can expect a degree of empathy. Daily training, at altitude in the remote Royal Bafokeng Sports campus must get mundane and gruelling at times.

But this is the World Cup - not a golfing holiday.

Maybe Capello should have welcomed the player`s wives and girlfriends in the camp with open arms and perhaps Wayne Rooney is the kind of man that needs his wife and baby son around him to keep him contented.

But should Capello`s preferred methods have really come as a shock to the system?

The Italian was always going to run the England camp like a boot camp, isolating his players from distractions, controlling their diet and keeping them out of trouble.

After his successful tenures at Roma, Juventus, Milan and Real Madrid, the FA knew Fabio Capello was a disciplinarian and brought him in on a lucrative £6 million deal tasked with whipping our boys into shape.

It is what England needed after the `matey` Steve McClaren era in which it was felt that the players had too much control and the distractions of the WAG circus that Sven-Goran Eriksson permitted in Baden Baden in 2006.

England`s stars are serial underachievers who fail to replicate their stellar club form for the country and until they actually win something, most of the players know that this public perception will not go away.

That`s why Terry`s assertion yesterday that he was speaking `on behalf of the players` has been met with disdain by many of his colleagues.

Nobody elected him their spokesman and they know that the responsibility to start playing as well as they can at this World Cup lays at their door- whether they fancy a beer from time to time or not.

There was never any issue with Capello`s stern rule when England won nine out of ten of their
World Cup qualifiers, and Rooney was banging in the goals.

England have not become a bad team overnight and Fabio Capello remains one of the finest
managers in the game today.

A return to winning ways against Slovenia will end this debate as quickly as David James ended the goalkeeper debate on Friday.

And hopefully John Terry can get back to focusing on his job as a centre back instead of trying to pick the team.


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