Fabio Capello today insisted he is still happy dealing with the most important challenge of his life, despite the latest scandal to hit the England team.
It is understood the Football Association are reviewing security procedures after an apparent secret recording of conversations between players and coaches before the Egypt friendly came to light. The FA have yet to make a complaint to the police about the bugging, reportedly at The Grove hotel in Hertfordshire, because they are still waiting to have access to the recording. They have, however, taken legal steps to ensure the conversations remain under wraps.
Capello refused to answer direct questions on the subject today, labelling it a "private problem", but, speaking at the Laureus Sports Awards in Abu Dhabi, the Italian said: "It's a challenge always to be England manager, but the challenge for me is always important because, at my age, without a challenge I stay home and can go on holiday.
"I like the challenge and this will be the most important challenge of my life. To be England manager was one of my dreams and I am really happy to be England manager. I would not swap my position with (Italy coach) Marcello Lippi, I prefer to be England manager."
To be England manager was one of my dreams and I am really happy to be England manager.
Capello did concede he was surprised by the amount of off the field issues he has had to deal with, adding: "Yes, usually my job was to have to decide on the pitch, not outside the pitch. It's a new job for me. My job when I was manager of Milan, Juve, Roma or Madrid, I try to win always. For me it's the same now as England manager.
"I am focused to find the best way and we are one of the best teams in the World Cup. We hope to arrive at the semi-finals, minimum, and then, after a lot of years, win the World Cup. We have a good team, good players and at this moment we think we can beat all of the teams because we can play at the same level of the best teams in the world."
Capello even tried to put a positive spin on the spate of injuries suffered by England defenders recently, with Wes Brown the latest to join the likes of Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole in the treatment room. However, he admitted the in-form Wayne Rooney is certainly one player he can ill afford to be without at the FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa.
"I think I am happy because the players are injured now and missing time before the World Cup starts," Capello said. "Brown, Ferdinand and Cole are out but the players who played against Egypt played very well and we have no big problem with defenders.
"Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Rooney are the three best players in the world at the moment. Their styles are completely different. One is fast, one has lots of imagination. Rooney is more strong, he runs a lot and helps everyone, and this year he scored many goals. I think he is one of the best but those three are really young and they are the best players for the future. I hope he will be in the same form during the World Cup and that he will be fit and not injured because he is one of the most important players."
Before England arrive in South Africa however, Capello will have the problem of selecting his squad in several stages. "The last game of the Premier League is on May 9, but the FA Cup final is on May 15 and then I hope one of the English teams is in the Champions League final on May 22, so I have to select my squad at three different moments," Capello explained.
Capello's provisional squad to travel to the training camp in Austria is likely to leave out players in the FA Cup and Champions League finals, with the former perhaps joining up with the squad when they return to England for the friendly with Mexico on 23 or 24 May. Players involved in the Champions League final should join the squad before the last warm-up friendly against Japan in Austria on 30 May.