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England boss Fabio Capello defends Gerrard involvement


Capello defends Gerrard decision

England manager Fabio Capello has defended his decision to leave Steven Gerrard on the pitch until the 85th minute of their 2-1 defeat by France.

Gerrard went off injured and Capello was criticised by Liverpool fitness coach Darren Burgess on Twitter, though the comments were later removed.

But Capello said: "I told Liverpool he would play for an hour if possible.

"With Gareth Barry and Rio Ferdinand's injuries we needed a senior player on the pitch. I'm upset about Gerrard."

Capello added: "They asked that he can play one hour if it's possible. They can't decide how long a player plays with the national team. If it's possible, he'd have played an hour.

"I understand why they're upset and I'm also upset. The problem is that, when you play this game on Wednesday after a lot of Premier League, Europa League or Champions League games, it's possible there might be an injury for a player.


"The Premier League, every time, is a tough league for the players."

England were thoroughly outplayed by France in the friendly at Wembley, and were 2-0 down after 55 minutes after goals from Karim Benzema and Mathieu Valbuena.

Peter Crouch's late strike for England did little to ease the disappointment of a poor performance by Capello's men, and injuries to Gerrard, Barry and Ferdinand have only made matters worse.

Australian Burgess, who joined Liverpool in the summer as head of fitness and conditioning, did not hide his disgust after watching Gerrard limp off towards the end of the contest, though his tweets were deleted after about an hour of being published.

"Unbelievable from all associated with England and English FA with regard to SGs [Steven Gerrard's] injury. Completely ignored agreement and past history," said Burgess.

"Completely amateurish and now we pay for their incompetence. Absolutely disgraceful."

Liverpool's official website said that Gerrard would be assessed on his return to their training base at Melwood on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Capello admitted his team were second best to France at Wembley but said it was important for some of the younger players to gain some experience.

Newcastle striker Andy Carroll and Sunderland midfielder Jordan Henderson were handed debuts, while Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs earned a second cap as England struggled to get close to a lively French outfit.

"It was important that some of the young players played at Wembley against a really good team, important for the future," said Capello.

"I'm optimistic for the future of the England national team - when all the players are fit we have a really good team, but it's important the young players get experience on days like today.

"Every time in the past I have read 'you have to put young players in, you have to do it', and now I have put young players in the team and we are talking about the result. They need experience.

"It's important to note the value of new players for the future. I have monitored these players in the Premier League, but they have to understand what really happens when they play with the seniors."

Capello reserved special praise for Carroll, who passed a late fitness test on a groin injury to make his first appearance for his country.

"I'm really happy for Carroll and his performance, he's a really good player for the future of England," added Capello. "We have found a good player and that's important."

Former England captain and Newcastle striker Alan Shearer also paid tribute to the efforts of Carroll.

"I thought he battled well, his touch was good and I thought he won his fair share in the air and he was probably the only positive of the night," Shearer told BBC Radio 5 live.

"But I hope people don't get on the young guys' backs because none of them really shone last night. I hope they are given another chance. I hope (Capello) sticks with the young guys because I think it does need freshening up."

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see also
England 1-2 France
17 Nov 10 |  Football
Wednesday's football as it happened
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Wednesday's football photos
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Capello urges fans to be patient
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Trio pull out of England friendly
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