Italian Capello hired as England Coach

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{image-campello jpg_15122007.jpg www.oneindia.com}London, Dec 15: Italian Fabio Capello was given the England coach's  job until 2012 by the Football Association (FA) on Friday.
The FA confirmed his appointment on a four-and-a-half year contract in a statement on its Web site (www.thefa.com). The 61-year-old succeeds Steve McClaren, who was sacked last month after the team failed to qualify for Euro 2008. Capello, the oldest man to take charge of England, will start his new job on January 7. His first match is a friendly against Euro 2008 co-hosts Switzerland at Wembley on February 6.

The appointment of England's second overseas coach following Swede Sven-Goran Eriksson (2001-06) was ratified by the FA board on Thursday. Contract details were finalised by the FA and Capello's lawyers on Friday.

"I am delighted Fabio Capello has agreed to become England manager," said FA chief executive Brian Barwick.

"When we set out to recruit the new manager we said we were committed to appointing a world class candidate. In Fabio Capello we have that man."

Capello's backroom staff will consist of assistants Franco Baldini and Italo Galbiati, goalkeeping coach Franco Tancredi and fitness assistant Massimo Neri.

An English presence will also be drafted into the set-up in due course, the FA said.

Tancredi, 52, was looking forward to the task.

"I am very happy but I realise it will not be an easy job seeing as there are four foreign keepers at the first four teams in the Premier League and often the reserve keepers are too," the former Italy keeper told the Italian news service ANSA.

Capello has had a glittering career in club management and was also a top player, winning 32 caps for his country.

He has won nine league titles in Italy and Spain, although the two he achieved with Juventus in 2005 and 2006 were wiped from the record books because of an Italian match-fixing scandal in which he was never implicated.

Capello took AC Milan to Champions League glory in 1994 and also won domestic titles with AS Roma and Real Madrid.

Although his appointment looks set to galvanise a team that for too long has underachieved, not everyone in England was happy with the FA's choice.

Former England defender Gareth Southgate, now manager of Premier League Middlesbrough, said: "I feel it should be our (English) players, our manager, our coach, our kit-man and our faith-healer against the best of the rest of the world.

"I don't see the point of having a national team with a national anthem and patriotism and a foreign coach. It might as well be club football."

Former England winger Steve Coppell, manager of Premier League Reading, welcomed Capello's arrival but said he wished he was English.

"I am sad," he said. "I'm a proud English manager and I would have loved an Englishman to be in charge.

The FA canvassed the opinions of many of the game's top managers including Arsene Wenger (Arsenal) and Alex Ferguson (Manchester United) on McClaren's successor and spokesman Adrian Bevington said Capello was the only man they interviewed for the job.

The only other candidate appeared to be former Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho but the Portuguese ruled himself out this week.

Among the issues to be resolved is whether Capello can continue working as a pundit for RAI TV in Italy.

RAI want him to stay on until Euro 2008 but it remains to be seen whether he can combine both roles. He is due to be on a RAI show on Sunday evening before holding his first news conference in London on Monday.

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