Up in the air: England fly home with Fabio in limbo

UNDER-FIRE England manager Fabio Capello faces a nervous fortnight after being told that the Football Association want time to weigh up whether to sack him.

Capello held talks with Club England chairman Sir Dave Richards yesterday morning, just hours after a crushing 4-1 defeat to Germany ended the nation’s World Cup hopes.

The Italian insists he wants to see out a contract that runs until after the 2012 European Championships, but has been informed he will have to wait two weeks to learn his fate.

“I spoke this morning with Dave Richards. He told me that he needs two weeks’ time to decide,” said Capello, who maintained he was happy with Richards’ response. “Yes. I think it is an intelligent answer.”

Capello, who is thought to earn between £5m and £6m a year, defended the size of his salary and took the opportunity to point out he had shown loyalty to England by shunning other job offers.

“When they decide to pick me as manager, I spoke with the people who give me this money. But it is not the money, but the value of the man,” he said. “I refused a lot of opportunities to be manager of important clubs because I like to stay here. I like this job. I want to stay on as manager of England.”

Capello flew back from South Africa last night with the rest of the squad, but the Football Association’s refusal to lend him their immediate and unequivocal backing means his future will remain up in the air long after this morning’s landing.

The situation is a delicate one. The 64-year-old said in the wake of Sunday’s chastening defeat that he would only stay on if the FA still had confidence in him, so has already been somewhat undermined, but is considered unlikely to leave of his own volition and thereby forfeit a hefty pay-off.

The FA, meanwhile, will want to avoid a huge financial hit and is likely to face accusations of incompetence if it fires the former Real Madrid coach, having removed a clause from his contract on the eve of the tournament that would have allowed it to sack him far more cheaply.

Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said there was “nothing sinister” in the move to delay a decision on his future.

He added: “We just want to show a common-sense approach rather than making a knee-jerk reaction within 24 hours of a very disappointing result. It makes perfect sense for us to go back to London and take stock of the situation.”