Capello hails 'leader' Wilshere
England head coach Fabio Capello admits Jack Wilshere is now one of his first-choice midfielders after just two appearances for his country.
Capello claims Wilshere demonstrated he has "arrived" as one of the best young players in the world after his performances for Arsenal against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League. On that basis, the 19-year-old looks a prime candidate for next Saturday's UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier with Wales at the Millennium Stadium and the friendly with Ghana on 29 March at Wembley.
Wilshere made his debut for his country as a late substitute against Hungary at Wembley in August. He was handed his first start in last month's 2-1 win over Denmark in Copenhagen. Capello said: "Wilshere, after the game against Barcelona, he has arrived. He has arrived. You can understand the value of that sort of performance. As a young player, I think he is at the top, not only in England but Europe and the world."
When asked if Wilshere was now a first-choice midfielder, Capello said: "Yes, yes, because he is good, because he plays without fear, and with confidence. Also for someone so young, he is a leader. It is incredible. I never saw someone so young be a leader on the pitch. It is incredible."
But Capello believes it will be his successor and not him who will decide whether he is a future England captain. He said: "He is a leader but it [being England captain] will be probably the choice of another manager."
Coach eyes Carroll and Smalling
Capello watched Liverpool's £35 million striker Andy Carroll in mid-week UEFA Europa League action against Braga now his injury problems are behind him. Carroll was one of the few England players to impress on his debut against France at Wembley in November.
But Capello will monitor the weekend Premier League matches before deciding if Carroll, and Manchester City winger Adam Johnson, will be selected. He said: "We will have no Rio Ferdinand, Steven Gerrard or Theo Walcott through injury and I hope that only those three players will not be fit.
"I just read that Adam Johnson played ten to 20 minutes on Thursday [against Dynamo Kiev]. I don't know if it is too soon for him [to be selected]. We will see how he goes on Sunday.
"I went to Liverpool to monitor Andy Carroll. He has played just one game [since being fit]. Will Carroll be OK for Wales? We need to wait until after the weekend games. He is fit but he needs to play games because, everytime, the big players need more games to find the good form. The squad will be 25 players for these two games. Two players more than normal."
Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has also impressed Capello and could come into the equation, certainly for the Ghana clash. He said: "Smalling is a very interesting player. I am monitoring him. I spoke with Sir Alex [Ferguson] and he told me he needs more games, more experience. But I think, when you play Champions League games, it is really important."