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Monday 11 December 2017

Capello: Rooney's Scot a big problem

Former England boss says striker only understands Fergie after another dismal international campaign

FABIO Capello has delivered a withering verdict on Wayne Rooney's displays for England during Euro 2012 with a heavily loaded comment asking whether the striker "only understands Scottish".

The former England manager is upset and angry at Rooney's own statements about how it was better that Roy Hodgson was now in charge because there were no longer any communication problems and there were "no words lost in translation".

Capello was indulgent of the 26-year-old striker during his four years as England manager, but voiced his annoyance to the Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport.

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Rooney had a poor campaign and was also poor at the last World Cup Finals, under Capello, but then scored 34 goals for Manchester United last season. This led to Capello questioning his commitment for country as opposed to his club, managed by Scot Alex Ferguson.

"After seeing the latest (England) game, I think Rooney only understands Scottish," Capello said when asked to comment on England's penalty shoot-out quarter-final loss to Italy.

When asked to explain his remarks, and while saying that Italy played a "great match" Capello added cuttingly: "He only plays well in Manchester where Alex Ferguson speaks Scottish."

Capello's long-time assistant Italo Galbiati has already labelled Rooney "ungrateful" and accused the player of showing a lack of respect. Rooney was suspended for England's first two matches of Euro 2012 after being sent off in the final qualifying game in Montenegro, Capello's last in charge with the Italian then quitting after feeling undermined in February by the Football Association's decision to strip John Terry of the captaincy.

Capello had fought hard for Rooney's ban to be reduced to two matches, from three, so he could take part in the finals but although the striker scored England's only goal in the 1-0 group stage victory over Ukraine he was woefully out-of-condition and struggled in that match and even more so against Italy.

Hodgson acknowledged that Rooney was poor in the two games but dismissed suggestions that the player was not fit. He also admitted that too much expectation was heaped on Rooney even though he had gone out of his way to praise him, calling him England's "ace in the hole" and also comparing him to Pele.

Rooney drew criticism for taking a holiday in Las Vegas, sanctioned by Hodgson, after the end of the season while he was recovering from a minor injury that had hampered the end of his campaign.

While Rooney was far from being the only England player to under-perform at the finals, the goal against Ukraine was his first in a finals since that competition in Portugal which ended prematurely for him through injury.

In an interview with Italian radio broadcast last week, and after Rooney's comments, Capello claimed: "Look, when I spoke they did understand me.

"But every now and again, when I tried to explain tactics, things didn't work out.

"You know what? Maybe it's because Rooney doesn't speak English. He doesn't understand English."

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