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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 11, 2007

Fergie and Wenger united in Capello backing

Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have combined to back the likely appointment of Fabio Capello as England manager.

The heavyweight Premier League duo were among a hand-picked group sought out by FA chief executive Brian Barwick and director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking for their views on the vacancy created by Steve McClaren's dismissal.

With Jose Mourinho now out of the running, Capello seems set to get the job providing he successfully navigates an interview with Barwick and Brooking, which is likely to take place tomorrow.

And, while Ferguson agrees with Wenger's theory that it would be better, if at all practical, to have an Englishman in charge of the national side, under the circumstances, they both believe Capello can give the Three Lions their roar back.

'To manage a national team, you need to be a certain age and have plenty of experience, with a presence and a CV that is indisputable,' said Ferguson. 'Fabio Capello has all that.

'In a perfect situation, Arsene Wenger is correct. If you could get someone from England, that would be good, everyone in England would prefer that.

'But the most important criteria is to find a manager who is going to be successful and the choices in England are very limited.

'For quite a while now, the England team has not been successful enough to satisfy expectations. The demands on England should be the same as they are on Italy, Germany and France, so, there is pressure on the manager to do well.

'You need a guarantee, so the wisest thing to do is get someone who can be successful, whether they come from Mongolia, Italy or Scotland.'

As long-time adversaries of Capello, who boasts seven league titles in a star-studded coaching career which encompasses spells with Juventus, AC Milan and Real Madrid, Ferguson and Wenger are perfectly placed to judge whether the 61-year-old has what it takes to be a success.

And while there are not too many issues on which the feisty Scot and the urbane Frenchman agree, Capello's attributes are one of them.

'I have known Fabio for a long time and he is an outstanding candidate,' declared the Arsenal manager.

'As far as the technical part of the job is concerned, you do not have to worry about him. He is a strong man, with 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.

'I believe he is a strong winner and is a guy who is convinced of the methods that he uses.

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

Wenger admitted Capello's inability to speak English could be a drawback in a job where the media intrusion appears to be like no other.

However, having managed at such a high level for so long, Wenger does not believe actually dealing with the press will be an issue.

'The only problem I think he could have is with the language - I do not know how good his English is because a big part of the job is to deal with the media - maybe a massive part,' he said.

'However, he can deal with the media pressure as he has done that before - he was at Real Madrid and in Italy as well where is big media pressure in the big clubs.'

Provided there are no unexpected hitches over the next week, Capello should have his feet well under the table by the time England tackle Switzerland in a friendly at Wembley on February 6.

Ironically, the game should mark the 100th international appearance of David Beckham, a man who, just like McClaren, Capello dropped last season before eventually realising the error of his ways.

Although there will be some who will lament the FA's failure to get Mourinho, on a general level Ferguson was not too sure how much enjoyment the 44-year-old former Chelsea manager would have got out of international management, which he is convinced is for the older generation.

'When you are young you want to work with players every day,' he said.

'Older managers have achieved everything.

'They are not in search of day-to-day work in the same way as when they were younger. That is an important issue.

'You need someone who has all the experience and has been to many situations through that experience, so that they are managing the national side at the right time of their career.'