Thursday, 26 March 2009

Capello concerned by England discipline problems

England manager, Fabio Capello, seems to be growing increasingly concerned about the discipline problems creeping into the national side ahead of the match against Slovakia this weekend. The England boss has made it clear since his arrival on the national scene that he will not tolerate any kind of bad behaviour from his current crop of players, many of whom seem to encounter trouble around every corner.

Indeed, Wayne Rooney ran into trouble last weekend when he expressed his anger at encountering an innocent corner flag at Fulham. The 23-year-old striker punched the flag as mounting frustration became too much for the Manchester United star to handle.

Rooney was sent off after throwing the ball in an aggressive manner towards match referee, Phil Dowd, and Fabio Capello has made it explicitly clear that such behaviour will not be tolerated.

Capello has branded the England striker a "crazy man" for acting in such a manner and was quick to question what the player thought he was doing by "punching the corner flag". Rooney's temper has long been a point of debate among football pundits, with some individuals believing it is a vital element of his game.

However, prior to the match against Fulham, the striker had been booked just six times in the Premier League since the start of the campaign and his game has not seemed to suffer.

The decision by Capello to speak out about disciplinary issues such as this one is positive for the national team. Whilst it may be embarassing for Rooney in the short-term, it is far better that problems are confronted head-on.

It is difficult to imagine Steve McClaren adopting such a firm approach and Fabio Capello has worked hard to distance himself from the lax and laddish culture of banter which the ex-England boss seemed to encourage.

Capello, unlike McClaren, does not care about being friends with his players. England have many talented players at their disposal but many of them also have disciplinary issues. Ashley Cole and Steven Gerrard have both hit the headlines recently after reported incidents off the pitch and the new England boss has made it clear that this will not be tolerated on any level.

Wayne Rooney will no doubt be angry at himself for his actions, which have cost him a place in the Manchester United squad facing Aston Villa in what could now be a key clash for the Champions. However, it is vital that he puts this disappointment firmly behind him as England prepare to assert their dominance at the top of their World Cup qualifying group next Wednesday when they come up against Ukraine.

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