Capello reflects ahead of Swede meeting
© AFP

England manager Fabio Capello is confident he will have assembled "a really good team" by the time the UEFA EURO 2012 finals get underway after being greatly heartened by the recent emergence of new talent.

Capello was pleased with the performances of Jack Rodwell, Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck as he experimented with his line-up in the shock 1-0 win over Spain. Now Capello will make eight more changes for tomorrow night's friendly encounter with Sweden - also at Wembley - with Tottenham Hotspur full-back Kyle Walker pencilled in to start for the first time.

It is likely to leave the Italian with a bigger headache than for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in deciding his final 23 for Poland and Ukraine, with the young guns vying with more experienced players for a spot. "It is really important for me to know the value of some players from how they played against Spain and now Sweden," Capello said.

"I am really happy because this experiment was positive (against Spain). The players who played, Rodwell, Jones, Welbeck, did really well. For these players it was a really important experience. I personally checked these players and I am really happy with the performance and the personality and the confidence they showed.

"It is difficult for young players to play with the confidence that they showed with Spain. If these players during the season will (continue to) improve, all these players will be ready to play with us with at the EUROs."

I personally checked these players and I am really happy with the performance and the personality and the confidence they showed.
Fabio Capello, England manager

Skipper John Terry, Gary Cahill, Bobby Zamora and Rodwell were also confirmed as starters against the Swedes by Capello. The manager knows the difficulty of stifling the threat of Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who produced some of the best form of his career playing under the Italian for Juventus.

"Ibrahimovic is a fantastic player," Capello added. "He has good imagination, technically he is fantastic and scores goals from long and short distance. He is one of the best players I trained in my life, in my career, and he proved it a lot when at Juventus."

Sweden winger Sebastian Larsson believes the English media's expectations for the national team going into major tournaments were too high after years of high-profile failure in major tournaments. "If you look at the players that they've got, they should be up there among the favourites for each tournament they've been in," said Larsson.

"But, at the same time, the pressure might become a little bit too much. Maybe they shouldn't be the top favourites for each an every tournament, the way they're maybe pictured to be in England sometimes."

Sweden will run out at Wembley tomorrow looking to extend a 12-match, 43-year unbeaten record against their hosts. Larsson said: "I've certainly let my English colleagues up at Sunderland know before this game. It's a funny statistic and hopefully we can keep it going for a few more years and reach at least 50."