As the England and Algeria players arrive at the Cape Town stadium in its glorious setting at the foot of table mountain this evening for tonight’s game, there’s inevitable curiosity among fans and journalists as to which 11 men secretive Fabio Capello will select.
At 5.30pm the players will discover whether they have a place in the starting line-up, as the stubborn Italian looks unlikely to break his habit of telling the players their responsibility in the squad just two hours previous to kick-off.
If there’s something that has been noticable in recent press conferences conducted by the former Real Madrid coach, it is that he plays a bizarre game of cat and mouse. Who will play up front with scouser Wayne Rooney and who will provide the defensive element in midfield seems to be a confusing choice for a man who has won the greatest prize in club football, the UEFA Champions League.
On more than one occasion, I can recall the Postman Pat lookalike toying with journalists about the idea of a Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey partnership. He prefers to briefly mention Heskey’s name, yet precedes it with a bucket of nonchalance further adding Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch into the equation, concluding with the words “maybe he’ll play, or maybe someone else”.
This moves the matter swiftly on to England’s goalkeeping love triangle. From the three goalkeepers that Capello called up for this year’s World Cup, he still can’t seem to put his indicative finger on who is his number one. In previous World Cups England have generally had a fixed keeper who would always be first on the teamsheet. Germany 2006 saw Paul Robinson between the posts and formerly to that David Seaman knew his role in both the Korea/Japan 2002, and the France 1998 World Cup.
In club football a team will have two goalkeepers listed on the teamsheet for each game. A consistent first team choice and also a reserve keeper. Simple. However, the selection process certainly can’t have been made easier for Capello, especially after Rob Green’s excremental mistake last Saturday in Rustenberg.
But as a manager you either express your forgiveness and offer support to the number one choice, or you immediately change things. I think I’m safe in saying he’s done both. Your time is nearly up Mr Capello. Tonight’s game is crunch time, so ensure that a confident and competent selection is made. Otherwise you’ll face an early exit, like the impotent French side who suffered defeat against the blazing Mexicans.Tweet