England 1-0 Spain

Capello: Young Lions will get even better

November 12, 2011

Fabio Capello described his England young guns as fearless and backed them to play a vital part at Euro 2012 next summer after they beat world champions Spain 1-0 at Wembley.

Phil Jones: Name-checked by Fabio Capello
GettyImagesPhil Jones: Name-checked by Fabio Capello

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The England manager praised the performance of Manchester United's 19-year-old Phil Jones, who started in midfield, and saluted 20-year-old Danny Welbeck as well as Everton's Jack Rodwell, 20, and Tottenham's Kyle Walker, 21, who all came on in the second half.

Capello also revealed that he would play 22-year-old Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge against Sweden on Tuesday as well as Walker and Fulham's more experienced Bobby Zamora.

Capello said: "The most important thing I saw was the performance of Rodwell and Jones and Welbeck, really good young players and also Walker.

"I think these players will be very important for the Euros because I saw they played without fear and with personality and physically and technically I can see they are good to play with the seniors.''

Capello had received much criticism when he revealed he would experiment against the World Cup holders but England kept their defensive shape and despite being starved of possession for long periods they frustrated the Spanish.

Frank Lampard, wearing the captain's armband with John Terry on the bench, scored the only goal, heading home from a yard after James Milner's second-half free-kick had been headed against the post by Darren Bent.

And while Capello insisted Terry and Bolton's Gary Cahill would play against Sweden the England boss praised the performance of Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka at the heart of England's defence.

Capello said: "The two centre-backs played a fantastic game, really good. Every time Spain tried passes through they were in good positions. They played with big confidence. It is impossible to play against Spain without confidence.

"John Terry and Cahill will play against Sweden. Walker will play right-back and Sturridge and Zamora [will also play].

"I needed to know the value of the players when they play here at Wembley. This is big test for good players to play here.''

Capello spared his biggest accolade, however, for man of the match Scott Parker, the Tottenham holding midfielder who consistently broke up the attacks of Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

"Scott Parker had an incredible performance,'' said Capello. "He is improving every game and he is a really important player for the back four when they receive the ball.''

Capello's team also received praise from Spain coach Vincent Del Bosque.

"The England side today are physical and powerful and they carried out their manager's orders to the letter tactically,'' Del Bosque said.

"They were very organised and set out to try to take the initiative. They made good use of the free kick to get their goal and carried out their plan quite nicely from the start.''

Del Bosque, who saw David Villa hit the post in the second half and whose side have lost a string of friendlies against top sides despite winning all eight matches in qualifying for Euro 2012, insisted his side would be back on champion form come the summer.

He said: "I'm disappointed and angry that we did not win but pleased with the performance we put in.

"There were lots of positives. We had lots of possession. We showed a lot of patience against a side with so many players behind the ball. Maybe we lacked a little speed to get behind with the ball

"We've always faced up to problems and found a solution but tonight there was a lack of space and a lack of the final ball. We will be prepared when the big games come next summer.

"We do not approach games in a complacent manner and have not taken these games lightly. We played at full pace. They only had one chance from a free-kick so it proves we dominated the game. We just lacked that skilful defining moment.

"It wasn't happening for us tonight.''