Ranieri warning for England stars
Fabio Capello will happily jettison England's under-performing stars for the benefit of the team, according to former Serie A adversary Claudio Ranieri.
Italian Capello is poised to be appointed at England's new coach today after productive talks with the Football Association yesterday which reportedly ended with him accepting the job in principle.
And Ranieri, who got to know the former Roma, AC Milan and Juventus boss' methods when he faced him from the opposition dugout during his time in charge of Fiorentina, believes he will turn England back into a world force.
But, in a statement which could spell the end for any hopes of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard rekindling their misfiring centre-midfield partnership, the `Tinkerman' has no doubt that Capello will always opt for the system over stardom.
'He brings the quality of picking the best players to make a team,' Ranieri told the Daily Mirror.
'Capello picks players who play together well. It sounds easy and obvious but not everyone can do it.
'He will look for pairings of strength within the team and then get them to work with other pairings. The team is more important than any individual.
'And his teams work together so well and are very difficult to score against. And sooner or later, they will score against you.
'He doesn't necessarily pick the best individual players. He picks the best blend. He showed that at Real Madrid.'
Ranieri is adamant the English public will learn to love the tough Italian known as `Don Fabio' - and has backed Capello to lead the Three Lions to glory.
'The fans will love Capello when he wins. And Fabio Capello is a winner. It is difficult to love somebody if you don't win,' he added.
'I think he can win the World Cup with England and make them into a team feared and respected throughout the world.
'He has great experience of football all across Europe. He is one of the best.'
Those positive sentiments have been echoed by Spain striker Raul who twice played under Capello at Real Madrid in 1996-97 and 2006-07.
On both occasions the Italian overcame internal turmoil to lead Real to the La Liga title, and Raul believes it is that ability to triumph in adversity which marks him out as the perfect England coach.
'He will give the England team back a clear identity,' he told The Times.
'The two seasons he had at Real Madrid were both during difficult times for the club. Eleven years ago he came in as the whole team was being rebuilt and we won the league in that one season.
'Then last season he had to endure so much criticism, with so many people saying that the team was not playing well, but we ended up as champions again.'
Raul added: 'I think he will do the England job very well. I only have good things to say about him.
'Apart from the fact that he is a man with so much experience, he wants the job.
'He is looking for this kind of massive challenge. England is a huge footballing nation that has not done as well as it could have done in the last few tournaments.'