Pressure mounts for Capello as England face make-or-break tie
Fabio Capello and his players have held clear-the-air talks as they look to resuscitate England’s faltering World Cup campaign.
The Italian manager has faced stinging criticism from English fans and media following his side’s tepid 0-0 draw with Algeria, which leaves them needing a win against Slovenia to qualify for the last 16.
And with senior players apparently unhappy with Capello’s tactics, a meeting was held on Sunday to discuss how England can ignite their hopes in South Africa. They are 4/9 to beat Slovenia.
Wayne Rooney has been worryingly out of sorts in both his performances at the World Cup, and there are growing concerns about his fitness after a beleaguered showing against Algeria.
The talismanic forward is a shadow of the man who scored 34 goals for Manchester United last season, and he appears to be carrying an injury.
If Rooney’s condition does not dramatically improve over the next few days, Capello may feel that he has to persevere with a 4-4-2 system, so that the striker is not too burdened with the team’s attacking responsibilities.
The general consensus is that England should revert to the 4-5-1 system which served them so well during their successful qualification campaign.
A multi-tiered midfield would allow Steven Gerrard to thrive in an advanced central role, while Frank Lampard scored a flurry of goals from a deeper role in a fruitful last season at Chelsea.
Should Capello continue with 4-4-2, however, Jermain Defoe could be a contender to start ahead of Emile Heskey, who again looked unlikely to score against Algeria.
Defoe injected some urgency into England’s lethargic display when he came on as a substitute against Algeria, and the Tottenham striker is 5/1 to score first against Slovenia.
Capello’s tactics and man management have both been scrutinised, and the microscopic glare will only intensify when England face Slovenia on Wednesday in a match they can ill afford not to win.