Sunday 1 June ~
There is no likelihood that Fabio Capello will learn anything about his England squad in their forthcoming match in Trinidad. There might be several new caps but even if Tom Huddlestone and Phil Jagielka perform creditably against the Soca Warriors that will give no indication of whether they are capable of contributing to a World Cup qualifying campaign against European teams. The main point of playing in Port of Spain is the belief that currying favour with Trinidad's football power broker Jack Warner will help England's 2018 World Cup bid. But there is no certainty that it will work.
Already Warner is using the publicity of the occasion to launch another diatribe against English “arrogance”. For Warner to complain about arrogant behaviour is rather like Joey Barton taking someone to task for being hot-headed. In this instance, however, his criticism of English football administrators' general outlook will strike a chord with many who remember the ineptly handled bid for the 2006 World Cup and more recently the widely ridiculed Game 39 plans.
As a Concacaf bigwig, Warner will be getting behind a US bid for 2018 with an outside possibility that he might back England as second preference, if they kowtow to him sufficiently for the next few years. The English are indeed often aloof and ham-fisted, not least when they try to make an ally of someone like Warner.
The other news from Trinidad is that David Beckham will captain England. Beckham stood down from the captaincy after the 2006 World Cup, a decision that turned into a media event with a tearful statement read out to the press including the revelation that he had “lived the dream”. At that point Beckham hadn't expected to be dropped entirely by the new England manager, Steve McClaren. When Fabio Capello took over it was initially thought that Beckham wouldn't even get his 100th cap. Now, however, he is right back in favour, and on course to become England's record cap-holder, even if it is almost by default. One thing that Capello will have discovered since taking charge is the paucity of talent he has at his disposal.