England news

James praises Capello's tough regime

April 5, 2009

England's improved results justify the new standards of discipline and team bonding introduced by Italian coach Fabio Capello, goalkeeper David James said on Sunday.

England's 2-1 win over Ukraine at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday was their fifth successive victory in their World Cup qualifying group and they look set for next year's finals in South Africa.

James, 38, who has played 48 times for England, said the team, who still have five qualifiers to play, were not surprised at their success under Capello so far.

"We have gone in with a game plan to beat the teams we've been up against and when you come off the field and you have the victory you feel everything's been justified," he told the BBC.

"There are rules and regulations which are testing and I don't mean that in a bad way. (Capello) obviously knows what the winning formula is with regards to preparation and that includes a lot of downtime in the hotel, but ultimately it is the end performance that counts.

"It's a very Italian style which I believe Mr Capello enforces. People have mentioned the fact the whole team sit down for a meal and won't leave until the last person has finished which is good, it is respect for everyone else at the table in the team.

"It is a little rule which at first you question but in practice it proves to bond the team. Before people would just pop down to dinner for five minutes and go back to their room."

Interviewed on the same programme, former England boss Steve McClaren, who now coaches Twente Enschede in the Netherlands, said he rarely watched England's matches now.

"I tend to be looking at other games," said McClaren, who was sacked after England failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

He said England in his time had been hampered by circumstances beyond his control.

"They had the ability, they had the talent, the only thing was injuries and suspensions, sendings off. A lack of fresh players costs you in tournaments and that is what happened.

"We suffered with injuries in very important games, especially towards the end."