Fabio Capello must have become accustomed to criticism since he took over as England manager, the Italian often finds himself in the firing line in one of the most high pressured jobs in world football. Former England defender Luke Young is the latest high profile name to have a go at Capello, this time over his poor man-management skills. But is Young right; is the Italian’s relationship with the England players a major stumbling block holding back the team and Capello from success?
Young, who won seven caps for his country in four years, retired in 2009 and last week blamed Capello and his poor man-management for his early departure from the international stage. Young’s outburst is by no means the first indication that something is a miss when it comes down to Capello communicating and motivating the players.
After England’s slender win over Wales in their last international outing Capello bizarrely claimed that he sensed his players minds were not right for the game even before a ball was kicked at Wembley and that England’s players have problems with their mental fragility. For a man paid a vast sum to lead the team, it raises serious doubts over his leadership if Capello felt he was unable to motivate the players ahead of what was a crucial game.
Capello’s man-management also came under fire when he again addressed the issue of captaincy earlier this year. Capello chose to strip Rio Ferdinand of the armband and passed it back to John Terry, reportedly without even contacting the Manchester United defender. Whilst the decision was probably the right one as Terry is a regular starter for his country whilst Ferdinand continues to struggle with injuries, putting his starting role in doubt, it is the lack of communication and apparent good relationship between the players and Capello that seems to be sorely missing.
People skills for a manager are vital, a good rapport between the squad and the man in charge will help a group of players who only come together a handful of times a year to gel and bond. The pressure of pulling on an England shirt would be made easier if they had faith, trust and a good relationship with the man that holds the cards over their international future.
But are we being too hard on Capello, as well-paid professionals shouldn’t players have their own motivation? This question becomes even more important when you consider playing for your country. Generally I have a major problem with players who retire early from playing for their country. Every opportunity to pull on an England shirt whether it be travelling with the squad, sitting on the bench or starting a game should be seen as an honour. I would question any player who seems to lack motivation to play for England when competition for places is as tough as it is.
Young’s criticism in particular seems slightly unjust. Young retired at the age of 30 in 2009, turning down the chance to play for England against Brazil in a friendly. This would have been a fantastic chance for Young to not only represent his country but also test himself some of the best players in the world, surely motivation enough for a player who was often on the fringes of selection for his country.
Capello’s man-management skills are an area for concern, especially as England edge closer towards another major tournament when the players will be under extreme pressure to perform well. But the players themselves should not be without criticism for their approach for playing for England. If retirement is the easy option when it gets tough then maybe Capello was right, England’s players do lack the mentality to play and do well for their country.
Do you think Capello’s poor man-management is to blame for England’s problems? If you want to read more of my bite size, 140 character views and thoughts follow me on Twitter @jennyk5
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