Capello defends wholesale changes for Ghana clash

Fabio Capello has defended his decision to make wholesale changes for England's friendly against Ghana at Wembley on Tuesday.

Updated: March 29, 2011 11:37 IST
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London: Fabio Capello has defended his decision to make wholesale changes for England's friendly against Ghana at Wembley on Tuesday.

After allowing John Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Wayne Rooney and Michael Dawson to return to their clubs, Capello confirmed he will make seven changes from the team that defeated Wales 2-0 in a Euro 2012 qualifying clash on Saturday.

Phil Jagielka, Gary Cahill and Leighton Baines will feature in defence and Andy Carroll will start up front.

There will also be a place in midfield for stand-in captain Gareth Barry, although one piece of continuity from the Wales game sees Joe Hart continue in goal.

"There will not be 11 changes. It will be seven changes, depending on which players will be fit tomorrow (Tuesday)," Capello said at Wembley on Monday.

"Jagielka, Cahill, Baines and Carroll will start, Barry will be captain and Hart will be in goal.

"If Scott Parker will be fit he will play but he got some little problems. I hope he will be fit."

Capello claims he is willing to disrupt England's momentum from the win in Cardiff, as well as frustrating the sell-out crowd who have paid to see their country's stars, because he doesn't want key players injured at a crucial time for their clubs.

All five players released by Capello will play in the Champions League next week and the England coach has decided it would be wise to avoid angering the managers of Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham.

"The players that went home are not here because I prefer to preserve them for the clubs and for us. At this moment if you are tired it is easy to be injured," Capello said.

"They would have played four games in 10 days. It is dangerous for players to play so many games in a short time. Now they will play only three in eight days.

"I respect the players, I respect the clubs, I like that the players will be fit after this game."

The English Football Association have been criticised in some quarters for agreeing to arrange a friendly at such a busy time of the season.

But Capello is adamant the Ghana match is vital to the development of his squad because it allows him to experiment with different players like Bolton defender Cahill and Liverpool striker Carroll.

"The date was decided by FIFA, it is only date we can play a friendly game," Capello said. "It is impossible to find a different date, for that reason we need to play this game.

"It is important for me to see the players play a team like Ghana, this is a really important team. I respect the fans but it will be interesting to see some players they don't know so well.

"It will be interesting for me as well because these players who will play are really good."

Capello showed a few signs of irritation as he was once again questioned on his failure to speak to Rio Ferdinand after replacing the Manchester United defender as England captain.

Ferdinand hasn't had any contact with Capello since losing the armband to John Terry, yet vice-captain Steven Gerrard has said he was called by the Italian before the announcement was made.

Capello still plans to meet Ferdinand in the future and he said: "Rio was the captain. Steve was the vice-captain. For this reason I prefer to speak to Rio personally, not on the phone.

"I spoke with Steve on the phone. With Rio I prefer to meet him personally. I hope that in the next weeks I will meet him."

After so much criticism over the last week, Capello could have done without Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho's revelation that he was "hours" away from taking the England job before Capello was appointed in 2007.

The FA responded to Mourinho's claims by saying: "Fabio was our first choice for England manager. We have made that clear from the outset."

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