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By ESPN Staff

Capello ideal for England job, says Zola

Gianfranco Zola has backed prospective England coach Fabio Capello as the ideal replacement for Steve McClaren.

With Jose Mourinho now a confirmed non-runner, Capello is leading the race for the England job.

Although the Football Association have been at pains to point out there is no number one candidate, Capello's CV stands out, even among a cast list that includes World Cup winner Marcello Lippi.

It has already been suggested Capello will ask Zola - who helped coaching Italy at last summer's European Under-21 Championships - to assist him.

The Chelsea legend has offered no opinion on that particular matter, but is 100% convinced Capello is the right man to lift England from their present pitiful state.

'Fabio Capello possesses the ideal pedigree to create a new era of success for England,' he told the London Evening Standard.

'Even when Jose Mourinho was in the running I believed that Capello had even more charisma, talent and experience for a challenging job like this one.'

Like so many observers, Zola simply cannot understand why a country boasting so many top players should continually fail on the international stage.

It is still staggering to think a team possessing the talents of Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney, John Terry, Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen should completely fail to reach the last 16 of Euro 2008.

And, while Capello's reputation is one of a hard man, who will not stand any challenge to his authority, Zola believes his track record shows he is capable of getting the best out of his players.

'When I was in England, many players indicated to me that they were not sure why the national side underperformed,' he said.

'The conclusion I drew was that there is something of a mental block.

'Whoever the next manager of the English national team is, his first task will be neither technical nor tactical but instead to build confidence, a team spirit and to ensure that his players are ready to follow his leadership.

'These are more things which are perfect for a coach like Capello.'

As well as Zola, former England skipper Alan Shearer and current Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce may also be heavily involved if, as appears increasingly likely, Capello is installed.

Meanwhile, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has also given Capello his backing as the right man to take over the vacant job of England manager.

'The quality of the candidate is outstanding,' the Arsenal manager said.

'I know Fabio for a long time. He is a strong man and a strong character. He has a clear idea of what he wants and when he is convinced of something he goes to the end of it.

'He is a strong winner and is a guy who is convinced of the methods that he uses,' added the Frenchman.

'I believe a manager is strong when he swims against the stream. I feel he can do that and that is quite a needed quality in this country.'