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Mar 25, 2011

Barry: Capello has relaxed

Gareth Barry says the England camp is now a more relaxed place under Fabio Capello and that the players remain firmly behind a manager who has been repeatedly criticised by the national media.

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Capello was lauded for his hard-line approach when first replacing Steve McClaren in December 2007 but his strict regime was criticised at the World Cup last summer as players were largely confined to their hotel rooms.

Ahead of England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Wales on Saturday, Barry says Capello has mellowed recently though and that the team hotel is a happier place as a result.

"On the training pitch nothing has changed. He's still pretty hands on," Barry said in a press conference. "If there's anything not right he's stamping down on it. Maybe around the hotel he's a little bit more relaxed.

"There was talk before about meetings and players turning up 20 minutes early. It was a bit more pressure on the players to be everywhere spot on the right time. It just seems the players are a bit more relaxed around the manager.

"The rules are still there and the players are still respecting them. But the players aren't on their toes looking over their shoulders [thinking]: is the manager watching? We can relax a bit more. The manager is not going to be on us 24/7. We can enjoy our time rather than worry about it. The feeling around the place is a lot more relaxed and more enjoyable."

Barry also said that if England do qualify for Euro 2012, they will have to employ a different approach to structuring their days in between games, as the itinerary imposed by Capello did not help morale.

"I spoke to Nigel de Jong who seemed pretty relaxed," Barry said of the World Cup last summer. "They were set in a hotel where they could walk out, get a feel of the area, go into town, spending a couple of hours and come back.

"That was probably the main difference that we didn't do where we were. There was a safari and the manager let us play golf. Maybe we were just on top of each other a bit too much. We have to qualify for the Euros and then look at lessons learned from the last World Cup, how we can improve and do it differently."

Despite his misgivings about England's time in Rustenburg, Barry says the team are behind Capello as they aim to make amends for a 0-0 draw against Montenegro in their previous Euro 2012 qualifier. Barry said: "We are fully backing the manager."

In Wales, England face a side that are yet to take a point from their three Euro 2012 qualifiers. They have a new manager in Gary Speed but Everton defender Phil Jagielka feels only a handful of Wales players would win a call-up under Capello.

"Probably only three or four of their players would be in our squad," he said. "But how many of the USA team would? Not many. Australia. Same again. But those teams are highly ranked. On paper we are massive favourites. But the game is not won on paper, is it?"

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