Capello just the tonic for England

Anytime over the next day or two one of the worst kept secrets in football should be revealed as Fabio Capello is named the new manager of England.

updated: December 14, 2007 16:56 IST
  • Total Shares


Anytime over the next day or two one of the worst kept secrets in football should be revealed as Fabio Capello is named the new manager of England.

Following the serious under-achievement of the national team under Steve McClaren, who failed to take England to the Euro 2008 finals, Football Association powerbrokers are thought to have decided to plump for someone with a considerably stronger CV than the former Middlesbrough manager.

And when former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho ruled himself out of the running, Capello became the favourite for the post.

His track record is without question having won the Italian Serie A title with three different clubs - although his two titles with Juventus were later rescinded when the club was found guilty of match-fixing - and also the Spanish La Liga crown in his only two seasons working in Spain.

What was even more remarkable about those successes, firstly in 1997 and then a decade later, is that after each title he was sacked.

The reason for that is that Capello is a master tactician and exponent of 'catenaccio', a defensive style of play where a team literally plays for a 1-0 victory.

He has enjoyed immeasurable success with that style and has been adored by his clubs' owners and management - but less so by the fans, notably those in Madrid.

Even so, his greatest ever moment came in the 1994 Champions League final when his Dejan Savicevic-inspired AC Milan trounced Barcelona 4-0 in the final while producing possibly the greatest ever performance in club football.

Such has been his managerial success that many people forget that the 61-year-old was a fine midfielder in his day, playing for Roma and Juventus as well as the Italian national team.

In fact, those with long enough memories might remember Capello scoring the winner for Italy at Wembley against England.

But it is his managerial career that is most impressive. He made his name in the early 1990s when leading Milan to four Serie A titles in five seasons as well as the European Cup in 1994.

He then moved on to Real where another title followed in his only season there and a year after leaving he took charge of Roma.

He won the title there in 2001 and then left for Juventus.

Having claimed back-to-back titles for the Old Lady of Turin, Capello quit once it became clear Juve would be demoted and although the club was stripped of those two titles, Capello had still guided a third team to championship glory on the field.

Last season he again won the Spanish crown with Madrid but his sometimes controversial team selections - he often left David Beckham and Ronaldo on the sidelines - made him unpopular with fans.

His defensive style may not be to England fans' liking either but in a country starved of success on the field since 1966, they will quickly forgive him if Capello guides England to World Cup glory in South Africa in three years time.