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Tuesday 19 September 2017

Fabio faith in Gerrard

Fabio Capello would have no problem pairing Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard together in central midfield for England at the World Cup.

They might be two of England's best players, but getting the best out of both of them at the same time proved beyond Sven-Goran Eriksson and Steve McClaren. It was only when Capello began to use Gerrard in a more attacking role wide on the left that a solution was finally found.

However, with Gareth Barry's presence in South Africa dependent on recovery from an ankle injury he will have a scan on later today, Capello could not have failed to be impressed by the control Gerrard brought to a patchy England performance when he was switched back into the centre during half-time of a 3-1 win over Mexico.

"Gerrard can play in midfield with Frank Lampard, but we have to wait and see which players will be fit," said Capello. "I changed it after half-time and put Steven in the middle, where he played very well.

"He is a really good player and can play in midfield, as a No10, in lots of different positions."

Peter Crouch scored his customary England goal and Glen Johnson found a brilliant effort to break his international drought.

However, it was returning central defender Ledley King who opened England's account, nodding home Crouch's lay-off from six yards.

"I am happy with him," said Capello. "I decided he had to play all the game today. It gave me an opportunity to see him."

King is likely to be excused Sunday's final friendly against Japan in Graz, although he has probably done enough to earn his spot in the 23-man squad Capello will unveil on June 1.

There is still time to make an impression -- as Aaron Lennon and Adam Johnson did on their late introductions -- although Capello insists no one played themselves out of contention.

"I am not concerned by tonight," he said. "It was really important to know where we are now, physically and mentally after a long season."

What Capello doesn't want is to get sidetracked by reports linking him with jobs elsewhere, this time Inter Milan, who are about to lose Champions League-winning coach Jose Mourinho.

"Juventus, Inter, Real Madrid, the other teams, AC Milan," he smiled. "It's good for me, but I am focused on the World Cup."

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