Not so Fabio, Capello

I woke up in the night with a splitting headache. Too much red wine ? That stupid new TV? It takes forever just to switch on - state of the art, state of my arse . . .

Then I remembered. England gave me the headache, specially Rob Green, and most of all Capello. I had gone to bed hating him, blaming him for everything. Normally, sleep cleans, sleep clears away. If you are a fan, not actually on the pitch and in the dressing room, life moves on. But after England's first game, I continued to feel so depressed, deflated.

A nation's team doing well does perk up the nation. You get out of bed and smile, are optimistic, bright and keen. Defeat, or a rubbish performance, and you think, what the fuck, why should I bother, I'm going back to bed? Yes, it's childish. But following football is.

I blame Capello because he ruined Green's confidence. He told us he knew all along his first choice, so why didn't he tell the rest of us and most of all Green? He could have been playing Green in all the friendlies, giving him support and confidence, not making him worried and nervous. Giving James the No 1 shirt was a slap at Green.

There is a theory that goalies are extroverts, big people, big personalities, but in my observations, they can be the most nervous. Pat Jennings came into the dressing room after every game with a headache - even when he had played well. I watched Green walk out on to the pitch and he looked worried before he had begun. It is Capello's job to give him confidence, big him up. Not diminish him and create insecurities.

Capello has been praised for being decisive - but I can't see it. Tough on flip flops and mobile phones; ooh, scary. But when it comes to real decisions, such as who will play, he can't decide, that's why he leaves it to the last hour, waiting for a sign. He clearly still can't decide if
he likes Joe Cole or not, or prefers Heskey to Crouch. In that first game, he got all three decisions wrong, all of which he had left to the last minute. Ledley King was quickly knackered, Milner wasn't fit and then poor old Green.

Capello at Real Madrid dropped Beckham, saying he would never play for him again - then changed his mind and they won the league. Sven and Steve McClaren looked indecisive, immobile and pathetic, when things were going wrong; Capello looks tough, talks tough, waves his hands
toughly, but in his tight little schoolmasterly mind, he is just as all fans fear when they yell at managers: "YOU DUNNOWOTYOUDOIN!".

Right, that feels better - now I will get up, face the day. I will watch every game, as I promised myself. I have this fantasy, up here in Lakeland, that I am the only person watching, that it is beamed just for me, so I have to be alert and responsive - and let Capello know exactly what I think. He expects it.

And I still have a fantasy that England will stuff Algeria and be on their way to, er, wherever they are going.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 21 June 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The age of ideas