England boss Capello calm over tough FA targets

May 6, 2008

Fabio Capello insists the Football Association's target of making the semi-finals at the World Cup or Euro 2012 have not put him under undue pressure.

The targets have been laid down as part of the FA's four-year strategic vision that was unveiled at Wembley Stadium today.

The FA also announced plans to appoint an international performance director, and to have the National Football Centre (NFC) at Burton up and running by 2010.

England's Italian manager backed both the centre and the appointment, and said he had no problem with the targets being set him despite the side failing to qualify for this summer's European Championships.

Capello said: 'I think we must always be positive and my personal objective in every team I have coached was to go to the top.

'I am not under any pressure. It's no problem for me and it's no surprise these targets have been set. I believe that it's important to have these targets and to work towards them.

'We should all be confident of this because the team I have at the moment is capable of reaching these objectives.'

The FA's strategic vision also includes winning the bid for the 2018 World Cup and Wembley Stadium making a profit by 2012.

The document sets out a number of major milestones for both the men's and women's national teams, grassroots football and policy objectives.

The target of England making at least the semi-finals of the next World Cup or European Championships is one of the biggest challenges, especially given their failure to qualify for Euro 2008.

Capello was among a group of FA figures including chairman Lord Triesman, chief executive Brian Barwick and director of football development Sir Trevor Brooking who identified the need for a performance director.

The international performance director will not be Capello's boss, but will be charged to bring the best practices from other countries and other sports to all the England sides.

Triesman said: 'You look around the world at other countries who have done well tournament after tournament, such as Brazil, Italy and Germany and we need to make sure we learn everything they are doing.

'It is an additional resource particularly for Fabio and his team.'

Capello also backed plans to have NFC at Burton up and running in two years' time.

'It is important to have a centre, to have a home,' Capello said.

'A place where we can go back and be together, spend time together, feel the spirit of the shirt we are wearing, regroup and achieve the targets that we want to achieve.

'As we all know there is only 38% of players who are English in the Premier League.

'But having said that there are lot of young players in the under-21 level and younger that are very good so there is plenty of talent.'

The strategic vision underlines that England are suffering a shortage of eligible players. Triesman said he could understand why FIFA president Sepp Blatter is trying to push through a plan for every team to have a maximum of five foreign players but warned that it would be a mistake to try to change EU employment law.

It understood however the FA may however support FIFA's call for a 'gentleman's agreement' where the rule is abided by but not enforced.

Triesman said: 'I understand exactly why Sepp Blatter and FIFA have made the proposal but to try to get European employment law changed may turn out to be too high a hurdle for anybody, at least in my lifetime.

'What I do think is that it is worth doing everything else that we can which helps bring through players who are eligible to play for England.

'We would want to ensure there are fair mechanisms so that it is not less expensive to attract a young player from continental Europe, so we don't have a trade in youngsters below the age which is appropriate.'

The structure of the FA will be changed to have an 'international performance group' made up of Triesman, Barwick, Capello, under-21 manager Stuart Pearce, the new performance director, and the chairman of the international committee.

Other milestones included a million five to 11-year-olds trained through the FA/Tesco Skills Programme by 2010, 125,000 existing teams retained and 20,500 new teams created by 2012, 26,000 referees retained and an additional 8,000 referees recruited by 2012.

The FA are also aiming for their RESPECT campaign to have improved overall disciplinary performance by 25% in four years' time.