After England’s dismal showing at the World Cup, it was inevitable that questions would be asked of Fabio Capello. The Italian’s disciplinarian style that was once hailed was now labelled as being too strict, his choice of formation and personnel was lambasted. Many in the media were calling for his head, predictably suggesting that Capello should be fired and that an Englishman should be brought into the frame. Fabio Capello has had great success in his career however, winning a host of tophies including eight league titles and a Champions League victory. Capello’s trophy cabinet dwarfs that of any English manager, but a good deal of the media seems desperate for an Englishman to take the job. Rightly or wrongly England have gone down the route of appointing foreign coaches, giving an English manager the top job now is not going to change that fact. Fabio Capello has known very little failure in his managerial career, and he will be as keen as anyone to remove the blot from his copybook that now exists. England’s issues can not be blamed solely on the manager, and there is no guarantee an English coach would fare any better.
Of course there is blame to be laid at Capello’s door. His consistent selection of Emile Heskey was ridiculous, the striker is clearly not cut out for international football but it is not his fault that he is picked. The 4-4-2 that was employed seemed outdated, teams like Germany and Spain made England look like a relic from a bygone era. This criticism of Capello is entirely fair, but a lot of the other accusations bandied at Capello are incredibly fickle. The Italian has ruled with an iron rod during his time as England manager, and during the qualifiers this was considered by much of the media to be something that was highly positive, the preening prima-donnas of English football needed some discipline put back into them. When it came to the World Cup however, Capello was being too severe and he should cut the players some slack; maybe the WAG’s should have been invited after all. Moreover Capello became a popular figure in English football, after a very successful qualifying campaign not many were saying Capello was the wrong man for the job. It must be remembered that this is Capello’s first job in the international arena, and though this is not an excuse for such a poor performance it means he is still learning. Capello would have learnt a lot from the World Cup and the fortunes of the English team will surely improve as a result.
After South Africa, Roy Hodgson and Harry Redknapp became the media’s most popular choices for England manager. But going forward would the England team perform so much better under one of these two? An English manager does not equal success and passion as some in the media might lead us to believe, after all there was virtually none of each during the last English manager’s reign. The FA have already stated that Capello’s successor will be an Englishman, but it is far from certain that he will have more success than the Italian. There were tentative signs of improvement against Hungary, and Capello selected some exciting young players in his squad. Capello would have learnt a great deal from the World Cup and is well qualified to take the team forwards, who knows, another successful qualifying campaign and the media may well be singing his praises again.