Capello may use Defoe
Cape Town - Fabio Capello has revealed that he is weighing up the advantages of partnering Wayne Rooney with Jermain Defoe, rather than Emile Heskey, against Algeria on Friday.
Capello was unusually forthcoming about the plans he was considering for England's must-win fixture on Cape Town. Having confirmed that the fit-again Gareth Barry would start the game, Capello declared that he already knew the identity of nine of the eleven England players with only the choice of goalkeeper and striker still to be resolved.
"I know my team," announced the Italian. "We will play Barry, he is back, he is okay, but I have to decide about two positions. The goalkeeper is one, and another position."
Asked, probably in more hope than expectation of a direct answer, whether the second decision was the identity of John Terry's partner following Ledley King's withdrawal, Capello replied: "No, no. The next forward, Heskey or Defoe."
The prospect of Defoe starting against the Algerians is almost as surprising as Capello's candor. However, Defoe's superior pace - and goalscoring ability - may be particularly useful against a defence as leaden-footed and static as Algeria's.
The Daily Mail even suggests that the controversial World Cup ball may be a factor in Capello's musing: 'The issue has even prompted the deep-thinking England manager to consider Defoe as an alternative to Heskey because he feels the ball behaves more predictably when passed on the floor than in the air,' remarks the newspaper.
Nonetheless, the expectation is that Heskey will be given the nod because he is considered to be Rooney's preferred partner. The Manchester United forward has started seven matches in partnership with Defoe and their record together is far from prolific. The goal scored by Defoe in the 4-1 defeat to Denmark five years is the only goal their partnership has produced.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the pitch, Capello has indicated that he will retain Robert Green if the West Ham goalkeeper proves he has not been mentally scarred by his horror mistake against the USA.
"He (Green) made a mistake, a big mistake, but in the second half he played well because he made a good save. But I have to decide.
"It's a problem of the mind, you remember always the mistake. You have to choose the best keeper mentally at this moment. I want to speak with him."
Green, Johnson, Carragher, Terry, Ashley Cole, Barry, Lampard, Gerrard, Lennon, Rooney, Heskey or Defoe.