FABIO CAPELLO believes England have their best chance of winning a World Cup since 1966 — because they will finally travel with fresh legs and minds.
England are currently training ahead of four Nations League matches in JuneCredit: Getty
Capello endured a torrid time as England managerCredit: SNS
The timing of the tournament — which was controversially moved to avoid the intense Middle Eastern summer heat — should, thankfully, work in England’s favour.
Capello still carries the scars of a disastrous 2010 tournament, which he claims was ruined by his side being completely shattered after the rigours of a long and exhausting Premier League season.
Looking trim, content and arriving without an entourage, the Italian was in relaxed mood when he sat down in a plush Parisian hotel with SunSport for an espresso the morning after Real Madrid’s Champions League final triumph.
Capello, 75, said: “I like English football. I watch all the games in the Premier League. I prefer it.
“The problem sometimes is that English players arrive tired at the end of the season.
“Did you see Liverpool? It was their 63rd match. They weren’t fresh.
“They played well but weren’t as fast as they usually play.
“This time the World Cup will be in November and December.
“As England manager, I always said that you can play September, October, November against all the teams in the world — we are fresh, we are running, the mind is clear and clean. The next World Cup for England is really, really good. I really think so.
“It has arrived at the best moment for English football and English players.
“They will be fresh. Not after 63 games, like Liverpool.”
And he is sure the pair are benefitting from expert coaching at their clubs — Three Lions skipper Kane under Italian Antonio Conte and Grealish, who is coached by Spanish mastermind Pep Guardiola.
Capello said: “Kane has improved a lot after the offer from City.
“I saw a lot of his early games last season and he had lost something.
“He wasn’t the same player. He wasn’t focused.
“Now he’s really involved in every moment, doing everything that Conte has asked him.
“I saw another Kane when Conte arrived.
Kane is closing in on becoming England’s all-time record goalscorerCredit: AFP
“Kane will be a really important player at the World Cup.
“Not a lot of teams can say ‘We have a really good forward’. Maybe only France with Kylian Mbappe. Technically, Kane is really, really good.
“For me, he’s one of the best strikers in the world.
“Jack Grealish is a good player with good qualities but with City, he doesn’t play.
“But one year with Pep Guardiola at City will be really important for him and what he needs to do to be a top player.
“He needs to sacrifice, to learn to be good not only when you have the ball.
“After this season, these lessons, I hope he has learned a lot.
“Conte with Kane and Guardiola with Grealish, these two professionals, it’s very important.”
Grealish has had an underwhelming first season with Man CityCredit: Getty
Capello resigned as England manager in February 2012, four months before the start of the European Championship, with Roy Hodgson filling the vacancy.
It followed the FA’s decision to go over his head and remove the captaincy from John Terry following a racism row.
Now retired from coaching, Capello is, incredibly, one of just two England bosses in 30 years NOT to have departed a major tournament via a penalty shootout.
Kevin Keegan is the other but his side did not make it out of the group at Euro 2000.
But luck was not on Capello’s side in South Africa 12 years ago as England were crushed 4-1 by old foes Germany in the last 16 of the World Cup in Bloemfontein.
Outrageously, Frank Lampard’s 38th-minute ‘goal’, which struck the crossbar and then clearly crossed the line, was missed by the officials and this misfortune accelerated their downfall.
Pointing to his stomach, Capello complained: “I have (the memory) here. It stays here. It’s painful.
With England 2-1 down, Lampard’s strike was adjudged not to have crossed the lineCredit: Getty Images – Getty
England went on to lose 4-1 as they were dumped out of the World Cup in the last 16Credit: News Group Newspapers Ltd
“I’m disappointed for that game we played against Germany, the Lampard ‘goal’.
“The referee missed this ‘goal’, the linesman was worse. They put on Goal-line Technology after this.
“Apart from that, I only have good memories of my time with England.
“When I come back to London, all the people there are really nice with me.
“The respect from the fans is really important.”
Fabio Capello is promoting Premier Sports, the exclusive UK broadcaster of Finalissima 2022 between Italy and Argentina, at Wembley on Wednesday.
They will broadcast 400 live matches from the Uefa Nations League and European Qualifiers for Euro 2024.
Premier Sports is available on Sky, Virgin TV and the Premier Player from £9.99 per month and on Amazon Prime as an add-on subscription.