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England boss Capello announces Wag crackdown

After qualifying for the World Cup with an impressive victory over Croatia on Wednesday, Fabio Capello has wasted little time in signalling that he will not indulge the notorious Wag culture at next summer's finals.

During England's last visit to the World Cup finals, in Germany in 2006, the nocturnal activities of the players' wives and girlfriends became almost daily tabloid fodder, with the whole media circus an unwelcome distraction for Sven Goran Eriksson and his side.

But Capello will not entertain a similar scenario in South Africa and has warned his squad that they are not travelling to the country for a holiday. Instead, contact with families will be limited to one day following each fixture.

"No, absolutely not,'' said Capello, when asked if there would be a repeat of the media circus that accompanied the players and their families at the 2006 World Cup. "I hope we are at the World Cup for a very long time.

"The players will have one day with their family, with the girls and friends. It will be one day, after each game and that is enough. That's it.

"If they do not want to come for the day, then they should stay home. We are going there to play, not for a holiday."

Capello has earned a reputation as a fearsome individual, ruling the England camp with an iron fist. However the Italian insists he is open to dialogue with his players and has taken individuals aside to explain his selection policy.

"I respect the players, the players respect me,'' he said. "This is very important. The days we stay together sometimes I speak to them individually.

"I have always said my door is open, players can come into my office. Three players have come to me and asked why they weren't playing. Every time I explained.''

The Italian now has eight months to decide which 23 players will represent England at the World Cup finals and Capello is adamant that he has drawn no early conclusions. Players such as Manchester United striker Michael Owen are still hoping to make an impression on the manager.

"I played the qualification for the Argentina World Cup in 1978 but I didn't go to Argentina,'' Capello said. "I wasn't injured. I just wasn't good enough and I heard on TV that I was not in the squad.

"In 1974 we arrived as one of the favourites. Out of the previous 12 games, we won eight and drew four against some of the best teams in the world. But at the World Cup we played Poland, Argentina and Haiti - and then went home. It just shows we have to wait. It is possible all the players I selected for the last squad will be with us in South Africa.

"But the door is open for everyone and I have to decide at the time which players are in the best form.''


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