Capello issues Frank warning
Published : 04 Sep 2011 10:00:22
Fabio Capello has warned Frank Lampard and England's other senior stars they are not guaranteed a place in his plans.
The England coach felt able to cope without Lampard in Friday night's 3-0 victory over Bulgaria, despite having Steven Gerrard and Jack Wilshere sidelined through injury, raising serious question marks over the 33-year-old's international career.
But Capello is too pragmatic to write Lampard off after 87 caps, saying: "He is one of the best English midfielders. But as a manager, I need to choose the players, not the name."
He added: "The first two games he (Lampard) played were not good and at this moment, (Gareth) Barry is in really good form. I will be happy when all my players are fit but they will need to accept my decisions."
Capello reported that Lampard reacted to the bad news with dignity and was delighted at the manner with which he applied himself after being introduced as a late substitute.
However, given the excellent platform Barry and central midfield partner Scott Parker provided for England, it is hard to see how Lampard could be considered for an early recall.
So, in a week Capello started by demanding pride from his players and at an age well beyond the point when Alan Shearer and Paul Scholes both quit to concentrate on their club careers, Lampard is facing a test of his often-repeated pledge never to abandon his country.
"It is the start of the season and he needs to play more games," reflected Capello.
"I remember Frank Rijkaard. For the first two months of the season he was not like a player. After time he found his form and he was good again.
"Frank is part of this squad. He is a professional and when he came on he was really focussed and did well."