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Sep 7, 2010

Ancelotti backs Capello over Rooney decision

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has backed Fabio Capello's decision to stick with troubled England striker Wayne Rooney for Tuesday night's Euro 2012 qualifier in Switzerland despite allegations about the player's private life.

• Capello: Rooney will play
• Rooney to remain with England squad
• Blog: Rooney v News of the World
• Preview: Switzerland v England
• Milner: England will emerge stronger
• Johnson out to become stalwart
• Forum: What now for Rooney?

On Sunday, it was reported in the UK press that the Manchester United star had sex with a prostitute while his wife Coleen was pregnant with their son. Rather than return home to his partner, Rooney opted to stay on with the England team and is set to start in Basel.

Ancelotti had to deal with scandals in the private lives of two of his Chelsea players last season - John Terry and Ashley Cole. Although Terry was stripped of the England captaincy by Capello and Cole eventually ended up getting divorced from his wife, both maintained their form on the pitch.

Ancelotti believes top players are able to separate personal problems in their private life from their job on the pitch and only if their behaviour impacts on the team is it necessary to take action.

"A coach has to look if this problem is involved on the training ground and if the players are able to maintain this problem outside of the training ground," Ancelotti said. "The coach can do just that.

"This is personal behaviour that refers to the personal character of the people; if they can separate the things. A top player is able to do this. It is possible I think. It was a fantastic example by John Terry and Ashley Cole last season."

Rooney has found himself in the centre of a storm since the allegations came to light and there had been speculation that he would not feature in the Euro 2012 qualifier, but Capello has confirmed the striker is "happy to play".

Since moving to England at the start of the 2009-10 season, Ancelotti has been struck by the incredible level of interest in players' lives and it is one of the few things about English football the Premier League and FA Cup winning manager has struggled to come to terms with.

He said: "I don't understand because there is so much interest in the [personal] life of the player. I know they have to show an image outside of the training ground but it's strange for me that there is this interest.

"I'm not interested if a player goes to sleep at eight o'clock or 12 o'clock. I'm only interested if a player can do 100% when they are training. I didn't control, when I was in Italy, what happened outside the training ground."


• Ancelotti was speaking at the launch of his autobiography The Beautiful Games of an Ordinary Genius, the proceeds of which will go to the Fondazione Stefano Borgonovo for the funding of research on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.