Perhaps the biggest off-field difference between the managerial reign of Fabio Capello and that of his predecessors has been the handling of the press.
In the past team sheets for pre-tournament friendlies would be received by reporters and World Cup match betting experts well in advance of kick off, while coaching staff and players seemed to be available for interview no matter what.
Sven Goran Eriksson especially gave the impression that the media circus was not only an inescapable fact of international football but should also be actively encouraged. Perhaps the nadir of this little love in was the glitzy press conference he used to announce his squad for the 2006 World Cup.
Fast forward four years and things couldn’t be more different Capello has largely shut out the press and although keeping them in the dark has bred some resentment among the less reputable areas of the press, there’s no doubt it has gained him wider respect.
His World Cup squad announcement could hardly have been more different to that of Eriksson either. Rather than announcing it in a dramatic fashion, Capello took the time to contact the players individually before a modest statement via the FA website.
Of course, it didn’t go off without a hitch. In the age of the internet and 24 hour news, names leaked out before the official announcement and the general public were left with the impression that it was all slightly shambolic.
However, it’s highly unlikely any media representative knew of an exclusion or inclusion before the player in question did and that’s what counts.
In his handling of the press and squad selection Capello has shown his squad that he is a man to be both respected and feared, two attributes that should go a long way during a the pressure of his team being up there with the World cup 2010 favourite odds to win in South Africa.