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Sunday, February 21, 2010
Rooney hails 'scary' Capello

Soccernet staff

England fans can feel even more secure with their national team in the hands of Fabio Capello after star player Wayne Rooney gave the Italian's thorough style a glowing appraisal in comparison to his predecessors.

Manchester United striker Rooney revealed he found Capello "really intimidating" when he took over as England manager in 2007 because of the extremely high standards he demanded on the training pitch.

Capello has revived England's fortunes since succeeding Steve McClaren in the role, overseeing a near-perfect qualification campaign for this summer's World Cup finals. Given the way he has finally harnessed the potential of England's superstar squad, Capello is one of the individuals who will have the biggest bearing on their success at the World Cup.

It's heartening for England fans, then, that the other key man in the equation is singing from the manager's hymn sheet. Quoted in several Sunday newspapers, Rooney said: "When Capello came in on the first day, he was scary.

"It was mad. On the training pitch, you'd be training for about three seconds and then he'd stop you and put you in position and say that's where you should be. He'd physically move you. It was really intimidating.''

Comparing the Capello era to the previous regime, Rooney added: "He's changed everything. You need to watch yourself if you make a mistake in training. He records everything and he once had Glen Johnson going over a tape because he wasn't happy with one of his throw-ins.

"Everything has to be right. But he's done a fantastic job and we're very happy to have him. He's restored our confidence as a team and he's given me the freedom to play. He gives confidence to some of the players who maybe in the past didn't have the belief that they were good enough to play for England. You can see it when you look around the team.''

On McClaren's predecessor, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Rooney added: "Sven was so relaxed it was weird. You were basically telling him what you wanted to do, but he was a good coach. He got us to two World Cup quarter-finals.''

The England squad will meet up next Sunday for the friendly international against African champions Egypt on March 3.

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