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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 15 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Jan 8, 2008

England boss Capello relishing Wembley return

Fabio Capello cannot wait to lead England into battle for the first time against Switzerland on February 6.

Capello spent his first official day as England manager in a series of meetings at Soho Square on Monday, designed to outline a negotiating position ahead of next Monday's World Cup fixtures meeting in Zagreb and also plans for a series of friendlies in the summer as the Three Lions sit out Euro 2008.

The 61-year-old Italian also plans to watch on Tuesday night's Carling Cup semi-final between Chelsea and Everton at Stamford Bridge, as well as tomorrow's North London derby at the Emirates Stadium as he continues to assess the form of players he is likely to call on against the Swiss.

But, while he also has plenty of knowledge to impart from his successful stints with Juventus, AC Milan and Real Madrid, Capello knows his major task is to turn England into winners once more.

And, after scoring a famous goal for his country at Wembley in 1973 which helped ensure England did not reach the following year's World Cup finals, Capello is eager to be back on the site once more.

'I have very good memories of the old stadium,' he said.

'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.'

Capello has taken on what many feel is the impossible job, although at least one senior figure among the England squad has suggested if the 61-year-old cannot turn the situation around, the players, once lauded as the 'golden generation' will really need to take a long, hard look at themselves.

FA chief executive Brian Barwick and director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking, who turned to Capello as soon as Jose Mourinho declared his non-interest, have both left Steve McClaren's successor in no doubt about the demands of the role.

However, pressure and expectation is something Capello has dealt with throughout his career.

And, rather than be fazed by the challenge, he appears to be relishing it.

'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 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.'