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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan, 7, 2008

First day at work for England boss Capello

Fabio Capello began work at Soho Square this morning and declared he has been wanting to manage England 'for a long time'.

Although Capello was at Villa Park and Kenilworth Road over the weekend to watch two closely contested FA Cup ties, his reign as Steve McClaren's successor did not officially begin until today.

'It is a huge honour for me to today begin my work as England manager,' said the Italian.

'I have wanted this job for a long time.

'I have had the privilege of managing some of the most successful clubs in the world, but the England job is as big as any.'

One of Capello's first tasks was to discuss a strategy for next Monday's World Cup fixtures meeting in Zagreb with the FA's director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking.

In addition, the 61-year-old discussed outline plans for England's summer campaign now they have been eliminated from Euro 2008.

He also held a 'very good' meeting with England Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce, the man many people feel will be brought in to accompany the four Italians on Capello's coaching team.

'I want to have a close working relationship with him (Pearce),' he said.

'The Under-21s play an important part in the England [Senior] Team's development.'

Capello has already been joined by trusted adviser Franco Baldini and the pair are set to visit Wembley Stadium later this week, as well as Arsenal's London Colney training ground to inspect the facilities England have used since their return to their magnificent new home.

The trip should also allow Capello to renew acquaintances with his old Real Madrid player David Beckham, the only member of the current England squad he has any experience of working with.

Beckham is expected to be installed as captain for Capello's first match in charge; the February 6 friendly with Switzerland, when he will win his 100th cap.

Already almost 70,000 tickets have been sold for the game, a vast improvement on what had been anticipated in the immediate aftermath of that catastrophic defeat to Croatia at the same stadium in November.

And Capello, who confirmed he will attend both Carling Cup semi-finals this week, before getting a taste of Premier League combat at the weekend, admits he cannot wait for the action to start.

'I have always followed English football closely and admired the passion and intensity of both the games and the crowds,' he said.

'The England fans are famous around the world for their strength of support. With that support also comes expectation.

'I will have my first experience of managing an England team when we play Switzerland at Wembley next month and look forward to feeling that amazing following for myself on that night.

'I have very good memories of the old stadium as I scored there for Italy in 1973. Playing for my country at the home of football was one of the highlights of my career and to lead out the England team at the new Wembley will be a very big moment.'

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