FABIO CAPELLO was facing a backlash from his new-look England squad last night after two players refused call-ups and brought an end to their international careers.
Just hours after naming a re-vamped squad for Wednesday night’s friendly with Hungary, Capello was left red-faced when goalkeeper Paul Robinson called time on his 41-cap England future after refusing to travel as Capello’s third-choice.
It was then revealed that Manchester United defender Wes Brown had visited Capello in person at the England hotel in Watford yesterday morning and informed him of his decision to follow suit.
This is the latest in a string of embarrassing events for Capello, who was forced to make a humble apology to England fans on Saturday night for his side’s poor World Cup showing.
In response, he named a much-changed first squad since the World Cup debacle, omitting no fewer than 10 players from the 23 he took out to South Africa in June.
The decision of Robinson and Brown also raises the question as to Capello’s communication with his fringe players as none of his squad were notified of their call-ups.
Robinson, 30, has never played for Capello since the Italian took charge in December 2007 and was overlooked for the World Cup despite an impressive season with Blackburn.
Club boss Sam Allardyce hit out at the decision to omit Robinson and now the former Tottenham keeper has rejected the offer to return to link up with Joe Hart and Ben Foster and vie for the No1 shirt.
Robinson conceded just 22 goals in his 41 caps for England but, sadly, will be remembered for his air-kick howler in the 2-0 defeat to Croatia in the Euro 2008 qualifiers.
“I have taken the decision to retire from international football with immediate effect,” Robinson said in a statement yesterday. “Only now have I been able to make this decision as previously I haven’t been in contention or selected for the squad.
“As a professional who wants to play every time I have the chance I don’t see myself as a number three or four keeper and find that role very frustrating. I feel it in the best interest of myself and my club Blackburn Rovers that I concentrate solely on my club football.”
Brown, also 30, brings an end to a 23-cap career, which ironically began against Hungary in 1999.
The full-back went to the 2002 World Cup without playing a game but a series of injuries prevented him from holding down a regular place, including at this summer’s showpiece in South Africa.
“After a lot of thought and with a very heavy heart, I have decided the time is right for me to retire from international football,” Brown said.
“At the age of 30, I feel it is right for me to stand aside and let younger players come through, which allows me to concentrate on my club career.”
Capello is yet to decide whether to replace either man.