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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 6, 2008

Owen first to feel force of Capello cull

Michael Owen will start on the bench as Fabio Capello's England regime kicks off against Switzerland at Wembley on Wednesday night.

Capello will start with Joe Cole operating behind Wayne Rooney up front, while Matthew Upson will join Rio Ferdinand in central defence.

David Bentley and Gareth Barry will play alongside Jermaine Jenas and Steven Gerrard in midfield, with Wes Brown and Ashley Cole filling the full-back slots.

There is also no place in the starting lineup for Ashley Young, Owen Hargreaves or Micah Richards, while Owen is also dropped.

The Newcastle striker will have to wait for his chance as Sir Trevor Brooking warned the nation's top footballers that reputations will count for nothing under the Italian's stewardship.

'If you look through the side there are going to be very few automatic choices. That means everyone thinks it's up for grabs,' Brooking told BBC Radio Five Live.

He added: 'If you play well then you could force your way into the Capello starting XI, and that's great, that's what everyone wants.

'There are going to be very few who can automatically turn up and think 'I'm playing' because he is going to select formations and teams on merit.'

Owen dropping to the bench marks a major shift in philosophy from Capello's predecessors Steve McClaren and Sven-Goran Eriksson, who were often accused of being in thrall to their superstar players, even when they were lacking in form or fitness.

Brooking, the Football Association's director of football development, believes the arrival of the former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach marks the end of selection based on reputation.

He said: 'I think in the friendlies he will really change it around, he wants to look at people, and generally there is an opportunity for someone who hasn't even played in the team at any stage to get into the Capello team.'

England team to play Switzerland at Wembley tonight: James, Brown, Ferdinand, Upson, A Cole, Bentley, Barry, Gerrard, Jenas, J Cole, Rooney.