FABIO Capello should take a look towards Dublin if he wants a lesson in squad management and how to appoint a captain.
Giovanni Trapattoni was smart enough to connect very quickly with the rhythm of his squad and, like Capello, he had three very good candidates – Shay Given, Richard Dunne and Robbie.
On the day he was appointed Ireland manager, Trapattoni made his first big decision and gave Keane the captaincy. No messing. A simple decision made and that was the end of it.
Given was named the vice-captain and everyone was on message from the start.
If either he or Dunne were disappointed by Trapattoni's choice, they had no forum to make their views known because there was no debate.
I'm pretty sure Trapattoni has as much regard for the captain's role as any other manager.
In other words, he knows it's a pretty meaningless title when it comes to winning football matches.
But he realised how important it would be to Keane and, in turn, how it would impact on the rest of the squad.
Certainty is rarely a bad thing in these situations. Keane has definitely grown into the role after a nervous start and he clearly enjoys the kudos that come with it.
But I don't think the results Trapattoni has achieved since he took over would have been any different if Dunne, Given or the kitman owned the captain's armband.
By naming his man from the start he gave the player confidence and gave himself space to work; knowing full well that Keane's seniority and standing among his peers would help cement his own authority.
By and large, it has worked well and Trapattoni will see his choice as a decision well made.
He must smile to himself when he sees Capello in such torture over nothing. I think Capello has now been diminished to the point where he is a lame duck and the manner in which he approached the whole issue of the England captaincy is a perfect example of his weakness.
From the start, he said he would try out a few captains. He tried to be politically correct and wanted to be seen to give John Terry, Rio Ferdinand and Steven Gerrard an equal chance.
All he managed to do was alienate two of them by making such a big deal of it when he chose the Chelsea man.
This certainly was not in keeping with Capello's reputation as a hard disciplinarian and no-nonsense manager.
I don't think he ever bought into the idea that the captaincy was in some way important but he felt pressure from some quarter and reacted to it instead of just naming his skipper and moving on.
Having picked Terry, he then dumped him when the headlines became too lurid and handed the armband to Ferdinand.
It seemed to me at the time that the Chelsea man would never be captain again. At least, that is the impression which was created.
Even more so after Terry's attempt to speak for the squad in South Africa backfired spectacularly. For me, that was a sending home offence but Capello went with the flow.
By then, he was so unnerved by the position he found himself in, I think he couldn't wait for the World Cup to end and for the English FA to sack him.
Even before he went to South Africa he had made some baffling decisions which only served to undermine his position.
Like the captaincy, he left his goalkeeping choice up in the air until, quite literally, the last minute and paid the price. He allowed the David Beckham circus into his dressing room and to hang around on match days.
That was crazy stuff from a manager who was held in such high regard before he took the England job. Not any more. He has become a caricature of himself and I think he knows it.
Some have even suggested that he is now actively looking to be fired and it wouldn't surprise me.
He has been considerably damaged by his relationship with England and short of qualifying for the Euro 2012 finals and then winning it, he will be remembered as another manager who was beaten by the job.
I've never believed that the England job is impossible to do. Like any position, it's all about the decisions you make and when you make them.
Capello made some very bad decisions and doesn't show any sign that he has learned his lesson.