Lennon 7, Gerrard 6, Rooney 8…is it really such a big deal?

England boss Fabio Capello stunned the FA and has received a backlash from the press over his plans to publicly rate players online during the FIFA World Cup in South Africa this summer. He has sinced decided to shelve the project, but it begs the question as to whether it really was such a big deal?

The ‘Capello Index’ was launched at the London Stock Exchange on Monday. The index, which was designed by the England manager, will mark players out of 100. The likes of Wayne Rooney, John Terry and Steven Gerrard will not only know how they have been ranked, but where they have been ranked against their rivals and many may argue this serves as a clear conflict of interests.

Did the media making too big a deal of this and making a mountain out of a molehill? Surely Capello will be putting in black and white what most fans would be able to work out for themselves, right? Shouldn’t the players be man enough to take any potential criticism?

I don’t know whether Capello’s stat will have an effect on the players or not. I would like to think the squad is mentally strong enough to put it to the back of their mind, especially the established stars. But it could perhaps be potentially damaging to players who are not so firmly entrenched in the team like Glen Johnson, Aaron Lennon and James Milner.

The national press frowned upon the Capello Index and suggest that the Three Lions’ chief is just after the money. Chicco Merighi, co-founder and chief executive of the Capello Index is also the president and founder of Goalventures Limited, which were described by the press as company who invested in sports media and gambling.

Capello was apparently surprised at the press’ negative reaction at the launch on Monday.

The England manager defended the index and said: “It’s not only for money,”

“It is for the fans. Because of my interest in football.”

He also is adamant that the index is a useful tool and is adamant that he will use it to his advantage for England this summer, but he admits that there is more to the game and selection than just the stats as ‘the psychology’ is also important.

Using indexes privately is not quite the same as this though and the FA may be worried that negative ratings can shatter the confidence or humiliate players who have had poor games. Not only that, but England’s opponents will also see these stats and try to use them to their own advantage.

In my opinion Capello has made a few bad calls in his time as England boss. He let down his former captain Terry by making a knee-jerk reaction and stripped him of his captaincy for off the field bedroom antics. Whilst nobody would condone what the man done, it had nothing to do with football, it shouldn’t have been such a big deal and Capello shouldn’t have bowed down to faux moral commentators and the gossip and scandal mongers.

So would the ‘index’ have affected the players? The likes of Rooney, Gerrard, Terry and Frank Lampard are used to fair criticism (even unwarranted criticism) and I expect that they are man enough to take it. The team’s real judge will be the fans and they are intelligent enough to work out who is playing well and who isn’t without having to be told. These players are at the top of their profession and should have broad enough shoulders to handle their performances being publicly rated by their manager.

England will kick off their World Cup campaign against the USA in Rustenburg, South Africa on June 12.

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