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Old 9th August 2010, 10:34   #1
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Default Wes Brown snub is yet another blow for embattled Fabio Capello

Wes Brown snub is yet another blow for embattled Fabio Capello

• Paul Robinson also calls time on his England career
• Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere called up for Hungary friendly

* Kevin McCarra
*, Sunday 8 August 2010 21.00 BST

Wes Brown retired from international football tonight. The Manchester United defender took no part in Manchester United's Community Shield win over Chelsea, but the 30-year-old made his mark by going to the England hotel following the game to tell the manager, Fabio Capello, he would not be appearing in the friendly with Hungary at Wembley on Wednesday or any future games.

After the pain of England's profound mediocrity at the World Cup the Italian has to wince again. Paul Robinson, the Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper, had already declined to return to international football despite being named in the squad. Brown is a more troubling loss for Capello. The defender has 23 caps and nine of his 17 starts had come under the Italian.

His decision reflects a desire to extend his career. Injury has prevented him from playing a competitive match since 3 March, but the England coach will still rue the loss of his services. Irritations are incessant for Capello, who has been coming under sustained scrutiny. The sense of a man bedevilled by problems is deepened by his argument that tiredness following the domestic season had undermined his men at the World Cup.

Such an explanation, whatever its merits, merely stirs the rancour and dismay of supporters. Having spent so much to go to South Africa, they are entitled to ask why, assuming the side qualifies, they should stump up for Euro 2012 when identical factors will hamper England. Any revival of faith in the national team will be nurtured only with difficulty.

Capello, all the same, has done as much as is feasible. Robert Green may have come out on top in yesterdayafternoon's penalty shoot-out as West Ham beat Deportivo La Coruña, but it will take a lot more than that to restore him to favour. His glaring mistake allowed the United States to equalise against England in their World Cup opener and Capello had no further use for him at the tournament, judging that the player had been badly affected by the fiasco.

With Robinson's withdrawal and Green's exclusion, England are left this week with Ben Foster and Joe Hart as the goalkeepers. The latter ought to be allowed his first start since he has been viewed for a while as the most promising candidate. David James replaced Green at the World Cup but his retention had not been envisaged even before the 40-year-old signed for a Championship club, Bristol City.

Few decisions, all the same, come to Capello quite so easily. His admiration of the Arsenal youngsters Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wllshere is well-known and both are in the party this week, but retaining them could be problematic. Each would have to go on enjoying first team selection at the Emirates, which is quite a task for a teenager such as Wilshere. It is not apparent that Gibbs will be a fixture in the Arsenal side either when Gaël Clichy has first to be supplanted. Capello will simply wait and see how the situation develops as he is reminded once more of the powerlessness that bedevils international managers.

The Italian is acutely aware of the restrictions, but he has striven to address some issues. Adam Johnson, who ought surely to have been at the World Cup if only as part of his education, is in the party now. Theo Walcott is recalled although there is a need for the winger to show that he is not a former prodigy whose progress is now at a standstill.

It is a challenge to empathise with a manager earning £5m or more per year, but these are demanding times for him. Nobody, after all, is in awe of the emerging English players. Capello might have liked to know that, contrary to reports, the experienced Michael Carrick would be in shape to play in today's Community Shield, despite the Manchester United midfielder not being taken to the World Cup.

There had been space for Brown despite his lack of action, but that gesture of trust has not been rewarded. Capello has at least produced a squad of some interest, with Phil Jagielka, for instance, deserving his inclusion. The wish for a revamp is at its most intense in the attack.

Wayne Rooney is the sole striker to be retained and is now in the company of Carlton Cole, Darren Bent and Bobby Zamora. There is absolutely no guarantee of a new era but a Wembley crowd will at least look at some fresh faces.
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. Martin Luther King
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