Cohen sees signs of Ramsey in Capello

17 March 2009 05:54
AFP/Glyn Kirkview photo



LONDON (AFP) - George Cohen believes that in Fabio Capello England have a manager with similar qualities to those of 1966 World Cup supremo Sir Alf Ramsey.

Cohen, England's right-back when they beat the then West Germany 4-2 after extra-time in the World Cup final at Wembley nearly 43 years ago, reckons that successive sides have too often been allowed to lose their way.

The 1966 World Cup remains the only major international football trophy that England have won and, for Cohen, the team's failure to reach the Euro 2008

finals in Austria and Switzerland under Steve McClaren, Capello's predecessor, was a particular low point.

"Missing out a place at the qualifying for the European Championships last year was quite frankly a massive disappointment to all of us," Fulham

great Cohen said Tuesday.

"It's been a long, long time since we won anything. I think the whole thing was poorly run for a long time - and without getting personal, the side has been badly managed."

However, Cohen is an admirer of Italian former AC Milan and Real Madrid manager Capello, insisting he has the necessary authority too many recent England bosses have lacked in their dealings with high-profile players.

"I think in Capello we have a real disciplinarian; he has players thinking only about the football, which is how it should be," Cohen said.

"In that sense he is the same as Ramsey. He would always make sure we concentrated on why we were there, with no asides, and he got results. Capello is the same.

"I think Capello is right to impose some discipline on them and to say 'you are expected here at a certain time - we all eat at a certain time'."

Cohen, whose nephew Ben was a member of the England team that won rugby union's World Cup in 2003, warned that although Capello's men had won all four of their qualifying matches so far for next year's World Cup finals it was still too early to make a judgment about how they might fare in South Africa.

"England have improved under Capello - there's no doubt about that. But it's very difficult to know if we are any closer to a second World Cup, because we haven't yet played the likes of Argentina."

Capello's England contract runs until 2012 but some reports in the British media have suggested that Aston Villa

manager Martin O'Neill is already being lined-up by the Football Association as his successor when the time comes to appoint a new boss.

Cohen was one of many who thought the Northern Irishman deserved more consideration for the post than he ultimately received from the FA following McClaren's dismissal.

"I have a great deal of respect for Martin; I don't know what happened the last time he was interviewed or why they let it happen," said Cohen.

"He is a smart guy, loves football, loves the game. He knows the game and he's been around a bit. He would be a very decent choice."

O'Neill, a member of the successful Nottingham Forest

sides of the late 1970s and early 1980s guided by the late Brian Clough, often labelled 'the best manager England never had', has won plaudits recently for overseeing Villa's push for a Champions League place while at the same time fielding English players such as Gabriel Agbonlahor

, James Milner

and Emile Heskey

.

"It's very important that he's bought English at Villa, because there's not many who've been given that chance," Cohen said. "With the foreign imports, a lot of the younger English players have been left on the periphery."

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