Capello: Next gen can be new Germany
Fabio Capello is hoping his emerging England team can be spoken of in the same deferential tones as Germany were after last summer's World Cup.
England's team of established Premier League stars, meanwhile, were criticised for the underachievement at the tournament. But Capello is confident a new dawn is on the way for his England side and that the fresh faces he is now bringing through could soon draw the sort of praise Germany did last year.
At Wembley on Tuesday night, he included one player in his starting line-up, Jack Wilshere, who was making his fourth appearance, another, Andy Carroll, winning his second cap and handed debuts to Danny Welbeck and Matt Jarvis from the substitutes' bench.
Given England were still able to get within an injury-time Asamoah Gyan equaliser of a victory over a very impressive Ghana outfit, little wonder Capello was in such a buoyant mood.
"I hope that people will talk about us like they did about Germany,'' said Capello. "We have got some young players who are really good for the future. These players are improving a lot and playing with confidence.''
Capello also offered name-checks to Joe Hart and Gary Cahill, although it was Ashley Young who was given the greatest backing of all. Previously, Young had been viewed by Capello as one of the players who shrank when they pulled the Three Lions onto their chest.
However, released from his station on the wing at Aston Villa by Gerard Houllier, the 25-year-old has revelled in the space afforded by a central attacking role. Capello noted the improvement and has been overwhelmed by Young's contribution to England's last three games, by far his most consistent spell as an international.
"Last year Ashley Young played nearly always on the left wing and sometimes on the right,'' said Capello. "This year he changed position and improved a lot. Now he is a really important player because the movement between the lines is there.''
Not that Capello is entirely happy with life, despite an excellent nine-day international break. Furious at the manner in which his pre-match comments about requiring only 100 words of English to get his points across, Capello rounded on his critics, stating: "Respect for the people is really important.'' The Italian felt an important element of his observation had been missed out, namely that the 100 words were concerned with the technical aspects of his job, rather than the extent of his knowledge of the English language.
Capello does seem to have moved on from Friday's savaging, though, to the extent that he felt compelled to warn an expectant public that despite the fine group of youngsters he has unearthed, those who have served him well in the past should not be forgotten.
"Don't forget Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard because these are really important players, who have been really good for us,'' he said. "But you need to find different solutions, depending on which kind of players are selected.''
Of the 23 players originally selected by Capello who were not released, only the back-up keeper, Robert Green, and Peter Crouch did not play some part over the two games, the first of which, against Wales, edged England slightly closer to a place at Euro 2012. Now he can only wait for the remaining two months of the domestic campaign to be concluded before he can sit down and finalise plans for the encounter with Switzerland on June 4, when Wayne Rooney will be absent through suspension.
"It is a really important squad and it will be difficult for me to select the players because the ones I had here were really good,'' he said. "I don't know what will happen in the future. It is a long way to arrive at Euro 2012 and there are still a lot of points to play for. But at this moment I am relaxed. I like being here and we are in a good position.''