Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football Affairs Are All Capello Is Interested in; Focus Turns to Onfield Matters

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football Affairs Are All Capello Is Interested in; Focus Turns to Onfield Matters

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Stone

FABIO Capello has left his players in no doubt he expects to be talking about football, not their private lives, ahead of this summer's World Cup.

England, skippered by Steven Gerrard, tackle African Nations Cup winners Egypt at Wembley tonight in their final friendly before Capello names his provisional squad for South Africa.

Yet the build-up has been completely dominated by the fall-out from John Terry's alleged dalliance with Wayne Bridge's former girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel.

It cost Terry the England captaincy and resulted in Bridge ending his association with the national side, so Capello accepts it is a subject he can hardly ignore.

However, the Italian is clearly uncomfortable discussing such matters and has made his players aware of what he expects from now on. He said: "I want to speak only about things that happen on the pitch. Not outside the pitch and not outside the stadium.

"I want to speak about the style of our game. I want to speak about what happens during a game. "For some players, their private life is a big problem. Also for the clubs and, at the end, for me. I hope they understand it is really important, in this last period, they are careful in their lives."

Terry might find himself singled out for abuse by a Wembley crowd who have never been slow to attack members of their own team. Gary Neville and Terry's Chelsea team-mates Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole have been the target of booing in the past.

However, after carefully crafting the unity so obviously missing when he replaced Steve McClaren two years ago, Capello has joined those urging the England fans to lay off the 29-year-old.

He added: "I hope tomorrow the fans help the team.

"They understand the private life of some players has not been so good and I know they are worried after what has happened.

"However, we are dressed in the England shirt and it is important for us that they help us every moment, so I hope they don't boo John Terry. …

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