ENGLAND’S fraught squad held clear-the-air talks with manager Fabio Capello last night in a desperate bid to salvage a campaign that could be dead within 48 hours.
The summit was prompted by England’s disastrous start to the tournament, which saw them follow their opening draw with USA with an even poorer stalemate against Algeria.
Capello’s men must now win their final group clash against Slovenia on Wednesday or they are likely to face a humiliating first-round exit which will cost the Italian his job.
The meeting took place just hours after defender John Terry took the extraordinary step of announcing that players were ready to confront the Italian, even if it meant upsetting the strong-willed coach.
Terry’s declaration fuelled suggestions that unrest is rife amid the squad, with some players thought to be unhappy at the manager’s tactics and his infamously stony demeanour.
And in a further sign that Capello’s authority has been undermined, it is thought the Football Association expects him to resign if England do not reach the knockout stages.
“We have gone to Fabio Capello and discussed possible tactical changes in the past and we will do again if we feel it needs to be done,” said Terry, who was stripped of the captaincy by Capello earlier this year.
“We owe it to ourselves and everyone back home, if we feel there is a problem, to say so. Whether we have an argument with the manager or it upsets him, everyone needs to get off their chests exactly how they feel. If we feel things need to change, everyone needs to voice their opinion. If it upsets him or another player, so what?”
Terry insisted, however, that he supported Capello, adding: “I’m here on behalf of the players and we are all fully behind the manager.”
...but farcical France squad is in a bigger mess
FRANCE’S disastrous tournament descended into farce yesterday when the squad refused to train following a row over Nicolas Anelka’s expulsion.
A public training session had to be abandoned after an angry confrontation between captain Patrice Evra and the team’s fitness coach Robert Duverne.
In a statement the players said they wanted to “declare their opposition to the decision to exclude Nicolas Anelka”.
Chelsea striker Anelka was sent home on Saturday after he refused to apologise for a foul-mouthed outburst at coach Raymond Domenech.
Domenech yesterday insisted his spat with Anelka “was not a confrontation”, but said the French Football Federation had been right to axe him.
Les Bleus must win their final Group A game against South Africa tomorrow to have any chance of reaching the last 16.