Fabio Capello made it clear Wednesday that England players would be putting their international careers in jeopardy unless they showed total commitment to their country.
The Italian’s warning was issued ahead of England’s friendly double header against the United States at Wembley on May 28 and the visit to Trinidad and Tobago four days later.
His message was plain – he expects players to answer any call up they receive for these two games after a lengthy domestic season other than for a genuine reason.
Capello said: “By the time of the two games, some of the players will have been on holiday for a week already. Do I want to see commitment to England? If a player doesn’t love to play for England, then perhaps he should stay at home.
“Players must love the England shirt and wearing the England shirt. That is all there is to it.
“If someone doesn’t want to come and play for England, it means they don’t love the England shirt enough. Obviously they must prefer to go on holiday.”
The new England manager will continue his policy of rotating his captains in the two friendly internationals before making a final decision on who will lead the side by the time England face the Czech Republic at Wembley in August.
That means John Terry, skipper under former boss Steve McClaren, is by no means certain to retain the captaincy with Steven Gerrard wearing the armband when he was absent through injury against Switzerland and then Rio Ferdinand against France last month.
Capello said: “Has Terry been treated fair by myself passing the captaincy around? I have choices to make. I am running my own tests and I will make my choice based on my ideas.
“The important thing is that everyone plays for England at the top of their game and are as relaxed as they play for their own clubs.
“Will Terry get a chance in the rotation policy? We will see. There are two more games. We will decide every game. But I will have decided my captain by the time of the friendly with the Czech Republic in the new season.”
Capello is happy that England are making steady progress in the right direction despite losing to France in the Stade De France.
“After the Switzerland game, I said it was a promising start. After the France game, I said there had been a huge step forward even though a few people were surprised I said that.
“I expect another big step forward from the next two games.”
England, who have failed to qualify for the Euro 2008 championships in Switzerland and Austria, have been drawn against Croatia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Andorra in their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.
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