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WhoScored: Zabaleta-Sterling a key battle

Tactics And Analysis 5 hours ago
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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 12, 2007

FA hold 'extremely positive' Capello talks

Fabio Capello flew home to Italy tonight knowing his next trip to London would almost certainly mark his coronation as England manager. Capello, the number one target of Football Association chief executive Brian Barwick and director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking, was involved in intense and prolonged discussions over the possibility of succeeding Steve McClaren. Fittingly, the FA are believed to have chosen Wembley Stadium, where Capello will be asked to deliver a winning team, to outline their plans to the 61-year-old. And, on the basis the job would be Capello's unless something went disastrously wrong during the interview process, the only conclusion to be drawn is that England will soon have an Italian in charge. 'I can confirm that Brian Barwick and Sir Trevor Brooking have today held talks with Fabio Capello in London,' said FA director of communications Adrian Bevington. 'I am pleased to say that these discussions were extremely positive and without any problems. 'Fabio has tonight returned to Italy to honour a prior commitment. 'Understandably, further talks are now taking place between Fabio's advisors and ourselves.' With Capello no longer part of the negotiating process, it seems only the finer points of a contract expected to take in the entire 2010 World Cup qualifying programme need to be thrashed out. Barwick and Brooking will then present their recommendation to the FA Board, with Capello just waiting for a call to tell him to board a flight back to England from Rome for an official unveiling that should take place early next week at the absolute latest and probably before. Providing there are no unforeseen hitches, Barwick and Brooking can feel very pleased with themselves. Although there is little doubt Jose Mourinho would have been a popular choice among England fans, many felt Capello should have been top of the FA's list from the start. With nine league titles on an impressive CV encompassing spells at Juventus, AC Milan and Real Madrid, Capello has proved his credentials at the very highest level. His age and background also means he is far less susceptible to the lures of a European giant, as seems to have been the case with Mourinho, a point that would no doubt have been made quite forcefully by Sir Alex Ferguson in his meeting with Barwick and Brooking. Ferguson may be a Scot but his Glaswegian brogue carries plenty of weight in the English game and in so forcefully commending the appointment of Capello yesterday - a view backed by that of Arsene Wenger - he virtually confirmed Capello's appointment. The Italian will doubtless return home for the festive period after his first public engagements are completed, before returning to England in the New Year. His first official task will be to head the FA delegation at a World Cup fixtures meeting due to take place in Zagreb in mid-January. He will then discuss England's summer plans, which could yet include a meeting with Scotland at Wembley on May 28, before finalising the squad for his first game in charge against Switzerland at Wembley on February 6. David Beckham, who he dropped and then reinstated to his Real Madrid side last season, will almost certainly be included for his 100th cap. However, the FA have already declared they have no intention of advising Capello about his captain, despite reports senior figures within Soho Square are unhappy with John Terry. Steve McClaren plumped for Terry as his captain above Steven Gerrard, believing the Chelsea man's inspirational qualities would be a major asset in the Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. However, certain off-field events, plus the sight of Terry grabbing a red card out of the hand of referee Mike Dean when Jon Obi Mikel was sent off at Manchester United this season, have raised a question over whether the 28-year-old should be afforded his exalted status. Nevertheless, the FA are hardly likely to appoint someone with the managerial experience and mental toughness of Capello and then dictate who should be his captain or in his squad. Bevington said: 'As opposed to quotes from unnamed sources, as the official spokesman of the Football Association, I am happy to confirm that the new manager, whoever he will be, will decide on who the team and who the captain is.'