Capello to rest stars for Mexico friendly

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:52

Capello to rest stars for Mexico friendly

The Double winners supply four of England’s 30-man provisional World Cup squad, with Joe Cole in particular keen to impress as he tries to hold off Adam Johnson to claim a spot in the final 23.
However, as they only arrived at England’s altitude training camp in Irdning on Wednesday evening after being given three days off following the FA Cup final last weekend, Capello does not think it would be right to include anyone from that Wembley encounter for the Three Lions’ final outing on home soil before departure for South Africa.
“The Chelsea players and David James will not play against Mexico,” confirmed Capello.
“I needed them to train and stay with us. I also needed to check their physical situation so these five players won’t play.”
As Cole’s team-mates John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are – fitness permitting – automatic members of Capello’s first-choice starting line-up, there is bound to be an element of experimentation about Capello’s team.
Mexico are also World Cup-bound, and Monday does provide an opportunity to tinker with both formation and personnel.
Johnson and Michael Dawson will both hope that involves debuts for them, while Jamie Carragher and Ledley King will probably be asked to make their first England appearances since Capello replaced Steve McClaren in December 2007.
It is suggested that Carragher is earmarked for the right-back berth Liverpool team-mate Glen Johnson had been expected to fill, while King, whose chronic knee problems have not prevented him training at England’s mountain retreat, may be deployed in a holding role to anchor a five-man midfield.
Another strategy currently taking shape in Capello’s mind involves the use of Wayne Rooney as a lone striker, just as he was used at Manchester United for the bulk of last season.
“I will experiment against Mexico,” he said.
“It is important to see how some of these perform on the pitch.”
For some, it is an opportunity that must not be squandered.
As uncertainty remains over the fitness of Gareth Barry, whose scan on Monday will determine whether Capello takes a chance on the Manchester City midfielder, at least one of the seven expected to be culled could be save while the others will hope to provide the England boss with a nudge so strong it cannot be ignored.
“In my mind I more or less know the names of the 23 players who will be with me in South Africa,” he said.
“But we have to wait because you never know whether someone gets injured.”
Having used the facilities in Irdning before when he was coach of both Milan and Real Madrid, Capello knew exactly what he was getting when he booked the trip.
The clear air and cooler temperatures are far more like the ones England will find in South Africa than the balmy conditions they last behind at home.
Physically, Capello and his extensive back-room team could have done no more to ensure their players are as prepared as it is possible to be for their opening Group C game against the United States in Rustenburg on June 12.
However, for someone as methodical as the England coach, it comes as a surprise to discover there have been no penalties practised.
At this stage, he simply does not see the point.
“It is too early to practise penalties,” he reflected.
“In any case, you could prepare for penalties and practise every day in training. But in a match it is different.
“Shooting to win is not the same as shooting in training.
“In training, the keeper is not very big. When you need to score to win, the keeper is really big and the goal is very small.”

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