After 20 years of passionately following England through thick and thin, Fabio Capello's appointment came as something of a shock.
Sven Goran Eriksson's reign as England manager left something of a bitter taste, but not because he was unsuccessful—far from it. Three successive quarterfinals in major tournaments was matched only by Brazil on the world stage during the same period.
But it was the sterile, almost passionless atmosphere that marked many of England's performances during this period that alienated many of the fans. This lent much credence to the detractors' argument that a foreign manager could never successfully manage the England team, even though the bare facts proved otherwise.
In truth, that was the problem.
Whilst Eriksson proved to be successful on paper, much of his time at the helm was characterised as almost a scientific experiment—an attempt to crack the code of winning a major international tournament with England.
In Capello, the mix of passion and tactical excellence seems to be more evident. Whilst many of his responses and ripostes during the myriad press conferences surrounding an England run out seem—at face value—to be no different, look deeper and you'll see a man that lives and breathes winning football matches.
As a player, Capello won four Scudettos—three with Juventus in the mid-'70s and one with AC Milan in 1979. Appearing 32 times for his country, going to the 1974 World Cup, he set history in 1973, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 victory over England at Wembley for the first time in their history.
Here is someone who understands what it takes to be a player at the highest level.
This is what makes his England squads such a bold statement. Not frightened of being outspoken, he has done the one thing that his predecessors daren't—he's picked players on form, not reputation.
His attitude appears to be, "If I think you're good enough, then you are."
"Now prove me right."
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