• Euro 2012

Capello: This is still my England team

ESPN staff
June 13, 2012 « Sneijder slams 'pathetic Dutch egos' | Chartbeat test »

Fabio Capello believes England are capable of enjoying a successful summer and says he has regrets over his departure.

Capello had enjoyed an excellent start to life as England manager as he led the country to the 2010 World Cup amid a wave of expectation, but the dismal performance in South Africa led to criticism of the Italian's management and -- despite securing the country's place at Euro 2012 -- he resigned in February following a feud over John Terry's captaincy.

Roy Hodgson, who officially took charge of England on May 14, has since led England to two friendly victories and a 1-1 draw in the Euro 2012 opener against France, and Capello acknowledges that he now has regrets over his departure.

"When England's players ran out against France, of course there was an emotion -- I felt it," he told the Daily Mail. "England is part of me now. The job was an attraction -- the chance to win something after so long. Everybody wants it for this reason.

"That is why it is the job I wanted, that is why it is the job Roy Hodgson, my friend, wanted. It is difficult watching on television when you want to be on the bench of the national team. It is a big difference. The dream is to win trophies, to make people back home happy. I miss it. This is normal."

He added: "This is my squad. They qualified under me and I know many of them so well. It is difficult to accept, but it has happened. England are part of my heart. I worked with the players and the people in the country for four years."

Although many felt England had performed above expectation against France, they have received some criticism for their defensive approach in the match, but Capello feels both sides were cagey in the opener and that Hodgson's men have enough ability.

"Neither team took any risks," he said. "They didn't have the confidence to do that because it was the first match of the tournament. England defended well.

"Joe Hart is an excellent goalkeeper and he made some really important saves. They have key players in important positions. Steven Gerrard is dangerous from long distance and free-kicks and John Terry is the spirit of the team. He drives the players in front of him."

England, as well as a spate of injuries, had to cope with the absence of Wayne Rooney against France. The forward was sent off for kicking out in the final qualifier against Montenegro -- "a really stupid or silly mistake," Capello says -- but will return after Friday's match against Sweden.

Capello feels his availability for the game against co-hosts Ukraine will be a substantial boost to England's chances of progress.

"During training I had to stop him: 'Please, Wayne'. But he would say: 'Boss, I want to shoot, I want to practise penalties, I want to do this'. I would have to say again: 'No Wayne!' I like that about him so much. He had so much enthusiasm.

"His best position is the one he plays in for Manchester United, playing as the link man. He can attack the space from there, but also he has the quality to score goals. He is a special player. He has certain qualities and he is one of the best players in the world. Technically he is gifted. For England he can be the difference and he can show that in the last group game against Ukraine."

Capello, who turns 66 this month, also stressed that he remains open to offers of work, though he is not desperate to return to management.

"I have had some offers, but some were too far away and my wife does not want me to go so far," he said. "If something interesting comes up at either international or club level then I am ready. If not, then I will be a television commentator."

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