We're right behind you, Fabio! England midfielder Gareth Barry backs underfire Capello

02 September 2010 12:46
Backing: Gareth Barry insists the England squad are 100 percent behind Fabio Capello

Gareth Barry insists the England dressing room is fully behind Fabio Capello.

The Three Lions go into battle for the first time in a competitive international since the World Cup on Friday when they tackle Bulgaria in their opening Euro 2012 qualifier.

With a tricky trip to Switzerland following on September 7, there are some who fear the end result will be so poor, the Football Association are going to be left with little alternative other than to oust the Italian, who was only confirmed in his job two months ago.

After building up an air of impregnability during his first two years in charge, Capello has seemed to do little right since he launched the ill-fated 'Capello Index'.

Despite the FA's frustration, and to Capello's continued embarrassment, the Index continues to log the fortunes of players, even though the Italian has tried to have it closed down and has long since distanced himself from the concept.

Yet, points are still being accumulated in line with the system he devised.

Unfortunately, only four of his 24-man squad - Scott Carson, Matthew Upson, Theo Walcott and Darren Bent - have made it into a dream team from the most recent list; a 'Capello Index' team including Roger Johnson and Nicky Shorey accumulating 745.45 points as opposed to the best England's potential starting line-up on Friday could muster, 679.09.

Yet Barry, one of 13 members of Capello's current squad who survived the debacle in South Africa, insists the players still have faith in their leader.

'Everyone is right behind the manager,' said the Manchester City midfielder.

Business as usual: England manager Fabio Capello

'I firmly believe the players and manager can go on and do great things. He is still the man to take England forward.'

Although it has been suggested Capello is determined to adopt a less intense approach, Barry has not detected a notable change.

The demand remains for England to play to their strengths, even if it was precisely that which led to such a let-down in the summer.

'I have not noticed anything different,' he said.

'He still wants us to play at a high tempo but the whole squad is pretty relaxed.

'Everything is pretty chilled there so there are not too many changes. We just want to get the results right. That is going to be what makes people happy.'

Dejected: Gareth Barry after England's World Cup exit to Germany

There have been some changes.

The move to Friday night internationals means Under-21 coach Stuart Pearce is not around to exert his influence.

David James and Emile Heskey are notable omissions from the men who were on duty at the World Cup, their international careers finally over.

And, even though Jack Wilshere has been relegated back to the Under-21 fold, Arsenal team-mates Theo Walcott and Kieran Gibbs bring youth to the present set-up, as does Adam Johnson, who has been hugely impressive since swapping life in the Championship at Middlesbrough for a shot at glory alongside Barry at big-spending City.

'Adam could really make his mark, said Barry.

'He joined us in the middle of last season, came into the team full of confidence and hasn't stopped since. He has kept improving with every game. The more he plays at this level, the better he will become.'

After making his first start against Hungary, Johnson could well be asked to make his competitive bow on Friday, especially if Capello opts to select Wayne Rooney as a lone striker and utilise two wide.

Man of the moment: Adam Johnson

Walcott seems certain to be handed one of those berths too, although England will be relying on their older heads to guide them through any difficulties.

With 40 caps to his name, Barry certainly classes as one of those.

Like so many others, he may be chastened by his summer experiences. But they have not diluted his desire to represent England.

'I am as hungry to be involved as ever,' he said.

'I want to stay in this set-up and be around for as long as possible. I want to try and getas many caps as I can and hopefully have some success with England too.

'Iam looking forward to these two games but I also feel extra responsibility. As an experienced member of the squad I have to recognise there are a lot of young players here who are going to need help at times.

'The lessons we have learned from the World Cup we have to try and use to help the young players and the team going forward.'

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Source: Daily_Mail

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 08:44