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Sergeant Capello reporting for duty
by Paul Kennedy, December 14th, 2007 7AM



To many Americans, Italian Fabio Capello, whom England hired Thursday as its new national team coach, is best known as the coach who benched David Beckham, prompting the English star to leave Real Madrid for the Los Angeles Galaxy.

But Capello, who -- irony of ironies -- will be the one who will decide if Beckham again plays for England and achieves his 100th cap, is one of the most successful coaches of the last quarter century.

Capello is a young 61 with a resume that includes two stints at AC Milan and Real Madrid and successful runs at Roma and Juventus.

Capello, a former Italian international as a player, has built the reputation of being a taskmaster, earning the nickname of "the Sergeant."

It will be Capello's job to restore order to the England national team whose players have been criticized in the media for being prima donas.

Capello, whose first match will be a friendly against Switzerland in February, himself faces the task of surviving the spotlight of the English tabloids who have brought down more than one England coach.

Already several English Premier League managers have come forward and criticized the selection of a foreigner as national team coach.

Capello's salary -- reported to exceed $12 million -- is sure to come in for harsh criticism.

Several tabloids descended upon Pieris, the town of 2,500 inhabitants in which he grew up.

The Mail reported positively on Capello for visiting his mother in Pieris.

The Sun was less kind, claiming Capello had a "Heart Of Stone" for not been seen in public in Pieris since he was a teenager.

League Championships
Real Madrid: 1997
AC Milan: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996
Roma: 2001.
*Juventus: 2005, 2006.
Real Madrid: 2007.

UEFA Champions League
AC Milan: 1994.

*Juventus later stripped of the titles.


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