Capello knows how much work there is to be done to convert England into a real force on the international stage, but he will be encouraged by a display that dramatically improved in quality as the game wore on.
Prior to kick off, Wembley fell silent to honour the victims of the Munich air disaster 50 years ago, though it appeared to be cut short before the full 60 seconds was up.
Once the action was under way, it was all eyes on Capello's first formation.
Rooney was on his own up front, supported from the wings by the excellent Joe Cole and David Bentley, with Jenas and Gerrard moving forward from midfield.
The players seemed uncomfortable at first, and Gareth Barry, who was supposed to be protecting the back four, gave the ball away carelessly for Tranquillo Barnetta to test David James from 20 yards.
England were enjoying more possession but Switzerland had the first golden chance to score, Mario Eggimann somehow glancing wide after Phillippe Senderos flicked on a Hakan Yakin free-kick.
Capello applauds Jenas' opener - his first goal in charge of England
Capello stepped off his bench to give instructions to his new charges, but the crowd began to grow restless as England continued to give the ball away cheaply.
No sooner had the boos started than Joe Cole burst into life, skipping past Stephan Lichtsteiner and crossing from the byeline for Jenas to tap in from four yards.
Buoyed by the goal, England started stroking the ball around confidently, only Rooney's lack of control letting him down before he chipped on to the roof of the net after excellent link-up between Joe Cole and Bentley.
Joe Cole set up Rooney to lash wide again before Diego Benaglio produced a magnificent full-length save to deny Jenas from 22 yards.
The crowd were starting to enjoy themselves, though they were soon reminded of just how much work Capello still has to do.
The experienced Hakan Yakin manouevred himself into some space in midfield and threaded a ball through to Eren Derdiyok, who wasted no time in rifling past James first time on his Switzerland debut.
But England were not level for long, Gerrard surging down the left and clipping in a cross for Wright-Phillips to convert from six yards out.
Gerrard was finding plenty of joy playing down the left as the game advanced and he went close with a fierce drive that only just flew over the bar.
England failed to find the net again despite bossing the later stages, but the victory was enough to satisfy the majority of the 86,857 that turned up.
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