Lampard Praises Capello Reign

30 March 2009 10:09
Frank Lampard believes the cold-eyed focus Fabio Capello has brought to the England job is exactly what was required.

The 'WAG' culture allowed to develop under Sven-Goran Eriksson and the informal references to 'Stevie G' and 'JT' of the ill-fated Steve McClaren era have now been binned in favour of the more clinical approach preferred by Capello.

There has been no pandering to egos during the Italian's illustrious career before and he can see no reason to start now, no matter how much wealth his players have amassed, nor the reputations that have gone before them.

Like errant schoolboys, Lampard admits the players took a bit of getting used to the new regime.

But, slowly, results started to justify the means. And now, as England look to extend their winning start to World Cup qualifying Group Six by beating the dangerous Ukrainians at Wembley on Wednesday, whatever Capello asks for, he gets.

"A lot of people made a thing of the WAGS, and a lack of a 'caring' England team," said Lampard.

"There was an element of truth in what was said.

"We want to win. We just needed someone to put us in line a little bit and make us concentrate on what we were doing.

"Those things can be a slight culture shock. But then you start winning games and you get a really good feeling about things.

"Looking back, Capello was exactly what we needed."

The Italian is clearly not afraid to make bold decisions either. But David Beckham was overlooked at Real Madrid for the right reasons - just as an unfit Michael Owen is for England now - rather than as part of some elaborate PR stunt.

"We needed a very strong leader who had his own mind," said Lampard.

"You can see that with Capello. I used to see it at Madrid.

"He would make strong decisions on players. They weren't always what people might have considered the favourable, glamorous decision, but it was for the benefit of the team.

"Everyone has an opinion on England but we need a strong man who will not listen to anyone else and go his own route."

It was the same quality Lampard noted in his old Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho - the conviction, not so much of always being right and a refusal to listen to alternative views, but a general belief his path would ultimately reach the correct destination.

"Every top manager has it, Mourinho certainly did," said Lampard.

"It's especially important with the England job. There are times when you could be affected by public opinion given the microscope on England. But Capello has that confidence.

"He's got a very strong aura about him. Everyone - the players, the public, the press - have bought into the way he does things and we all follow him. It's there for all to see."

It means that instead of having a collection of big-name individuals, England have a team.

"At times, it was easy to see we played as individuals too much in the past," admitted Lampard.

"We have very good individuals but the team didn't perform because we weren't playing as a group.

"To play as a team you need to have humility and to be selfless.

"You need to work for your mate next to you, to play out of position if that's what is required. That is something the manager needed to bring, and he has."

That selflessness is not something Lampard just talks about, it is a trait he has put into practice.

The Chelsea star requires discipline in a midfield holding role alongside Gareth Barry as Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney are given licence to attack the opposition without the need to give too much thought to the defensive part of their game.

Lampard can still score goals at international level, as he proved on Saturday with his first of the Capello regime.

But he recognises there must also be another element to his game.

"It is not quite a holding role but it is more restrictive than the one I have at Chelsea, or have had with England in the past," said the 30-year-old.

"But it's for the good of the team, so I will do it and enjoy it.

"You do want to go forward and it is possible to arrive from deep, maybe with even more of an element of surprise, but the team winning overrides that element.

"I just want to be part of a successful group."

Source: Eurosport