Does the Cap fit?
Is it right to stick with Capello? The Soccer Saturday panel give their verdict on the England boss...
Last Updated: 02/07/10 4:01pm
England's World Cup dreams ended in tatters - and here at skysports.com we've asked some of our top pundits to pick through the wreckage.
Our Soccer Saturday panel - Matt Le Tissier, Paul Merson, Phil Thompson, Charlie Nicholas and Alan McInally - have taken time to reflect on England's disappointing efforts in South Africa, which ended after a 4-1 humbling by Germany in the last 16.
In the coming days, the panel will look at what the future holds for the national game, but first they are placing manager Fabio Capello under the spotlight.
The Italian guided England through a successful qualifying campaign, but England's poor performance at the World Cup, winning just one game and scoring just three goals, saw his future placed into doubt.
However, the FA have announced that Capello will remain in the job for the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign - but not all of our experts agree with the decision.
skysports.com: What did you make of Fabio Capello's performance as England manager in South Africa?
LE TISS: I think some of his team selections were very strange and this isn't with hindsight. I was a firm advocate of David James starting in goal and I thought it was very odd when he went with Robert Green instead. That decision cost us top spot in the group and obviously meant we had to meet Germany instead of Ghana in the second round. I know Ghana went on to beat the USA but I would've fancied our chances against them a bit better than against Germany. I think tactically I would've just liked to see him try a different formation when things weren't going particularly well in a game. I just felt he was a little bit inflexible.
MERSE: He made a mistake with the goalkeepers from the word go. You have to have a number one and I don't think that uncertainty helped anyone, especially Robert Green. And then when that goal goes in against the USA all of a sudden it's backfired. That put England on the back foot in a group that they had to win; it was almost impossible not to come top of that group, yet we managed it.
THOMMO: I agree. I think he did get a lot of things wrong. Right from the start he made the wrong decision over the goalkeepers. I think David James had proved during the season that he was the best goalkeeper and it was always going to be a tall order for Rob Green. He's not as vocal and I think the back four trusted James more than Green. The other mistake he made was at centre-back. I would have played Jamie Carragher, who has got far more experience than Matthew Upson, against Germany.
CHARLIE: He lacked understanding and lacked vision over how his top players perform and when I look at Capello I just think everything's too rigid. All the teams that have looked good at the World Cup such as Argentina and Brazil let their players be expressive in the last third of the pitch - and that doesn't mean they're not rigid defensively. Look at the Dutch who don't have holding midfield players, but have two pivotal midfield players who let the front four run free and have an impact on the game. Why can't England do the same?
McINALLY: I've been listening to all these people on the TV saying that 4-4-2 is out of date and quite frankly I've never heard so much garbage in my life! 4-4-2 is a great system providing you've got players that will play the system for you. In my opinion the best way to play 4-4-2 with England's players is to have Steven Gerrard playing behind Wayne Rooney, Joe Cole on the left, James Milner on the right, Frank Lampard in the middle and then whoever you want next to him. So although there was nothing wrong with the formation there was definitely something wrong with the way he used the players at his disposal.
THOMMO: He got it wrong in midfield as well, but I think Joe Cole would have started against Slovenia in the final group game if it wasn't for John Terry's outburst calling for him to be named in the team before to the game. And that probably would've meant he would've started against Germany as well. Whether it was out of stubbornness or because he didn't want to appear a weak manager, Capello was never going to pick Cole after Terry's press conference.
skysports.com: Do you think the FA should have made a clean break and replaced Capello as manager?
LE TISS: It is a tough question because he had such a good qualifying campaign. Everybody before the tournament was saying how great he was and I think based on the way we cruised to qualification he should get another crack at it really. He may have played in a few international knockout competitions as a player, but this was his first taste of it as a manager so he'll probably look back at it and think that there may have been things he could have done differently in terms of player boredom and that sort of thing and hopefully he'll learn from it.
McINALLY: I never agreed with the decision to give him the job in the first place. Not because he isn't a great manager which I think he is, but because I think an English manager should be in charge of England. But to sack him now and pay him £10million would have been the stupidest thing I've ever heard. You can't possibly sack him now. With a bit of luck he's learnt that with the players he has got maybe he should have been a bit more flexible. I also think he's probably good for some of the players whether they get along with him or not. The disciplinarian side of him is something that players at this level need.
LE TISS: Discipline is a good thing, but you can go over the top. You can startle people with discipline and it almost looked as though the team was startled when they took to the pitch. They lost their freedom of expression and maybe too much of that discipline off the pitch crept onto it.
MERSE: We're England, we should have an English manager. Albania should have an Albanian manager; it's just common sense. England were not impressive once in four games, not once. Look at how the Mexicans went out after us; they played with a bit of flair and invention and at least gave it a go. We never even came close to that. The trouble is I think we all got sort of carried away with Capello because of how bad Steve McClaren was.
CHARLIE: Agreed. I don't see why England should ever have a foreign manager. Berti Vogts came to Scotland with a great CV (if you've been the Germany manager you can't have anything else...), but when he came to our place he didn't know the players' best positions and didn't even know the players' names at times. When you've got the likes of Roy Hodgson and Harry Redknapp - to name but two - then why not get somebody who can associate themselves with the English players?
THOMMO: He has been a good manager but I think he has found it very hard to be a national coach and dealing with players who have to live in each others pockets. I think the way he handled the camp was probably a bit too strict. When you're away together you have to be a bit more flexible and I felt that with all the media hype his position had become untenable.
MERSE: I would have given it to Redknapp. People will think I am only saying it because I've played for him, but believe me every one of those players would want to play for him. Listen, these players don't need coaching, they're top-drawer players who know it all, but they do need belief and confidence - and Harry would give them that in buckets. Even though they are top drawer, players still lose confidence and need that; they need to play with the confidence that if they do give the ball away it won't be the end of the world, that they won't get the manager waving his arms around, elbowing Stuart Pearce off the bench. I think that is belittling.
CHARLIE: People say the future's bleak, but you don't need outstanding players in every department. You need two or three special players if you can create them - and the rest is about a system that is adaptable and changeable. England still have plenty of scope to build again, but I don't think that's with a foreigner. I really do think it's time an Englishman took over the reigns.