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Mar 26, 2011

Capello under fire

Fabio Capello has come under attack once more from the English press ahead of Saturday's Euro 2012 qualifier in Wales.

First XI: The impossible job
Capello sorry for captaincy saga

Capello faced fierce calls for his resignation after the poor showing at the World Cup last summer, and many newspapers have been heavily critical of the way he handled the reinstatement of John Terry as captain.

Capello acknowledged in his press conference on Friday that he had "regrets" over the way the situation unfolded but, on Saturday morning, there seemed little acceptance of the apology.

In The Sun, which has been at the forefront of the recent attacks on Capello, the headline reads 'Confusion reigns large in the bizarre world of Fab'.

"Yesterday's press conference in Cardiff was supposed to answer many of the questions surrounding the switch in captaincy from Rio Ferdinand to John Terry," Steven Howard writes. "Instead, it was like one of the more disjointed scenes between Basil Fawlty and Manuel in Fawlty Towers."

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson, in his Daily Mirror column, adds: "Once John Terry steps onto the pitch in Cardiff, he will be a good leader and captain for England, but Fabio Capello's handling of the whole issue has been a farce and an embarrassment."

Even the broadsheets have been critical. Henry Winter in the Telegraph writes a piece under the headline 'Fabio Capello's sorry display raises more doubts about Italian's leadership style', while Barney Ronay, writing in The Guardian, adopts a lighter tone but is also less than complimentary about the England manager.

"There is without doubt something missing with England, a thrill-shortfall, an absence of umbrella-gnawing desperation, and I believe this comes straight from Fabio Capello," Ronay writes. "Parading the touchline he seems instead to radiate the mute and gurning fury of an elite concert pianist forced to queue for a kebab."

Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail provides a dissenting voice. "It was another funny old day for Fabio Capello," he writes. "He awoke to headlines claiming the players no longer feared him, and others that he should issue a grovelling apology over his handling of John Terry's reinstatement as England captain.

"So what's it to be then, eh? Do we want a subjugated manager pleading for forgiveness through the newspapers to a player who may not pull on an England shirt again this season? Or do we want the return of the brusque authoritarian who ruled his squad with an iron fist and meted out doses of solitary confinement between coruscating team meetings?

"Actually, we want it all ways. We want to gnaw on the captaincy like a dog with a bone, refusing to let the issue rest while portraying it as Capello's point of weakness, and his grudging admission that the personal touch was missing in his dealings with Rio Ferdinand fed the monster for another 24 hours."

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