AND coach Fabio Capello has warned his side’s brightest young stars, Andy Carroll and Jack Wilshere, they risk wasting their talent if their off-field behaviour fails to improve.
Capello is set to unleash Carroll, who in January became the most expensive British footballer of all-time when he moved to Liverpool from Newcastle for £35m, in tonight’s friendly against Ghana.
The 22-year-old has only just recovered from a groin injury and missed Saturday’s straightforward 2-0 win over Wales in Cardiff but is set to make only his second senior start tonight. Capello revealed his huge admiration for the new Liverpool No9 but admitted he still harbours concerns about his colourful lifestyle away from football.
He said: “The movement when he receives the ball is good. He’s strong. I hope he will fight and run and will do something during the game that I remember he can do.
“I spoke with him privately. He needs to improve, to drink less. I think not only Andy likes to drink beer. Look, he’s really young. His behaviour now is really, really important. He needs to be careful at every moment. When you play with the England national team, at every moment you are the focus of the fans, the newspapers, the photographers, the people that live around him.”
Capello also admitted to concerns about aspects of Wilshere’s life off the pitch. “I know, I read,” said Capello. “I think the teacher of Wilshere is really good. It’s better for Arsene Wenger to speak with him.”
Despite reneging on his original intention to make 11 changes to the team that won in Cardiff – he now hopes to make seven – the England manager has still attracted criticism from fans aggrieved that they will be making the journey to Wembley in the knowledge that star attractions, such as Wayne Rooney and reinstated skipper John Terry, will not be on show.
Mark Perryman of the Englandfans group said: “I feel sorry for the 20,000 Ghana fans that they won’t get to see John Terry or Wayne Rooney.”
Aaron Lennon will also miss tonight’s friendly with a hamstring injury. The winger has returned to Tottenham, who last night agreed a two-year contract extension with former Arsenal defender William Gallas.
RISE AND RISE | ANDY CARROLL
Nov 2006: Makes first Newcastle appearance as a 17-year-old sub in Uefa Cup against Palermo.
Jan 2009: Scores first Premier League goal in
2-2 draw against West Ham, but Newcastle are relegated at the end of the season.
May 2010: Wins promotion with Newcastle and finishes as the club’s top scorer with 17 goals.
Aug 2010: Scores hat-trick against Aston Villa
Nov 2010: Makes full England debut against France in 2-1 friendly defeat at Wembley.
Jan 2011: Moves to Liverpool for £35m.