Joe Cole has suggested Fabio Capello was not fully committed to his role as England manager and criticised the Italian for referring to David James as “Calamity”.
In an interview with the Guardian this month, Capello said England had “played without conviction” during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa as they were eliminated by Germany in the last 16. But Cole, who came on as a substitute in the 4-1 defeat against Joachim Löw’s side in Bloemfontein, has questioned whether Capello fully embraced his role in the same way as the incumbent England manager, Gareth Southgate.
“You have to say he is a legendary manager, what he’s achieved is unbelievable,” Cole told the Daily Mail. “I think it was never a marriage that worked in the sense that, I don’t feel like he committed fully to the England national team.
“I do think he was a great, great manager… [but] you need to be across the whole [thing] … like Gareth [Southgate] is doing. He is really showing the way in terms of what is required in that situation and I felt Fabio, for whatever reason, didn’t commit fully to the task. But I say that respectfully because, working with him, I could see he had that quality. The things he’d do, the things he’d say, he had something. I just think it was always tinged.”
Cole’s appearance against Germany was the last of his 56 caps, while James was also never selected again for England. Capello claimed the former Liverpool, Aston Villa, Manchester City and Portsmouth goalkeeper was brought in to replace Rob Green after his mistake against USA instead of a young Joe Hart “because of the players’ trust” and said: “You can’t say anything. Everyone makes mistakes. He made one, so I changed. I put in Calamity James.”
But Cole remembered it differently. “That’s wrong,” he said. “I wouldn’t consider myself in the bracket of senior players who maybe had the manager’s ear with things like that. But I just think that’s disrespectful to Jamo to say that.
“You can have a valid footballing reason for talking about someone, if you can back it up. For instance, when I talk about Fabio I think of a legend, a great manager, I just think: was he fully committed to the England national team during that spell?’
“We just weren’t good enough. I don’t want to make excuses. That Germany team went on to win the World Cup. And we weren’t good enough at the time – we had injuries, you can’t point fingers just at the manager, as footballers we just weren’t good enough to do it.”