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Football: HE'S THE ONE; THE FABIO REVOLUTION Italian makes a good first impression He came, he saw, he conquered... How classy Capello shone on debut.

Byline: Oliver Holt CHIEF SPORTS WRITER

FABIO CAPELLO was suave. He was assured. He was intelligent. He was composed. He was confident. He was passionate. He was rational.

OK, so we always say the nice things at the start and let the vitriol build up smoothly and gradually until the madness sets in.

OK, so we were kind to Glenn Hoddle, Kevin Keegan, Sven Goran Eriksson and Steve McClaren, too, before we turned them into basket cases and they led us further down the road to ruin.

But this time, it felt like we really have landed a figure who might give us a real shot at winning something at last.

We've been jilted by so many England managers now we can be forgiven for acting like a desperate spinster who thinks she's finally got her man.

So yesterday, a hum went round London's Royal Lancaster Hotel when Capello finished the familiar introductory ritual.

He's the one, people were saying. He's the one. He's the one.

He's the one to lead us out of this pit of despair.

He's the one to end all the years of hurt.

He's the one to give us our team back.

He's the one to knock our players into shape.

He's the one to give us our pride back.

He's the one to turn us into winners. That's Winners, as FA chief executive Brian Barwick would say, with a capital W.

If you distill what Capello offered yesterday down into one quality, one quality that none of his immediate predecessors possessed, it is this.

Capello exuded authority. None of the others had it.

Hoddle ceded his to Eileen Drewery and Keegan lost his when he told Paul Scholes to go out and drop hand grenades.

Eriksson surrendered his when he got David Beckham's autograph for his daughter.

McClaren failed to establish his long before he turned up on the Wembley touchline with an umbrella like he wanted to audition for Singin' in the Rain.

Under them, the players have behaved like naughty kids with a weak teacher. They've paid lip service to the authority of the manager without ever meaning it.

But Capello's got it. They won't mess with him. He's got the stature, he's got the reputation, he's got the physical presence and he's got the medals to slap down on the table if anybody asks.

It was there in his bearing as he sat on the dais. It's there in his achievements. It was there in the way he answered questions.

He wasn't scared of the questions, like all the others have been. He wasn't defensive. He wasn't evasive. He was sure enough of himself to speak his mind.

And that's a start, believe me. Not since Terry Venables was boss have we had a man in charge who has been able to engage in a reasoned debate about the national team.

Capello can do it. Straight away, he responded to a question about the freneticism of the English club game by suggesting the players needed to be educated in the ways of international football.

He didn't pull his punches (despite being asked about one he once allegedly threw). He said they needed to start playing for their country with the same commitment and skill level they showed for their clubs.

It took an Italian to say what three Englishmen and a Swede for some reason never could: that it's about time playing for England meant something again.

Stop apologising for wanting England to do well. Stop apologising for asking the Premier League clubs if we could please borrow their players for a couple of hours.

Stop treading on eggshells when we speak to Sir Alex Ferguson or Arsene Wenger. Start standing up for the England team.

"I believe English people have this will to win and this love for their country," Capello said. "It is just a question of getting it out of them. I hope I can be the man to do that."

Alongside him, Barwick quite rightly basked in a glow of satisfaction. On the other side, Sir Brooking, as Capello called him, looked less enamoured with the new England manager.

In fact, Sir Brooking, who is said to have formed a doomed attachment to Alan Curbishley as McClaren's successor, looked for the most part as if he was chewing a wasp.

He did laugh out loud - and some may have thought a little too delightedly - when it was pointed out to Capello that, in all his years of club management, he had never signed an Englishman.

Capello had an answer for that. He said he'd scouted Ray Wilkins and Mark Hateley and had been instrumental in taking them to AC Milan before he took over at the San Siro.

He had worked closely with them, he said, and with David Beckham at Real Madrid last season.

Yesterday, at least, it was impossible to find fault with England's new manager.

There's plenty of time for that. Let's just hope it takes us a little longer with this one.

WHAT PREVIOUS ENGL A ND BOSSES SAID WHEN THEY FIRST TOOK OVER..

GLENN HODDLE

(appointed May 1996 before Terry Venables led England in Euro96)

"My ambition is to be successful, playing in a manner that is close to my heart and I believe to the public's heart as well. I do believe the talent is there."

KEVIN KEEGAN

(appointed May 1999 after two games as part-time boss)

"We want to try and match what the 1966 team did. They had a bit of luck and we will need that too. It's exhilarating. You have just got to do it your way. I'll do it my way and hopefully it will be enjoyable."

SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON (appointed October 2000)

"The World Cup in 2002 is too soon, but 2006 is a real possibility. I'm very impressed. The future looks good. I want to be a world champion within my five years in charge. That's the ultimate for a coach. I always look to have high goals"

STEVE McCLAREN

(appointed May 2006)

"I'm results-orientated and I'm here to do a job, win matches and make sure England - over the next four years - win a major trophy."

CAPTION(S):

SPEAKING THE SAME LANGUAGE: Capello (centre) spells out his vision for England's future with the help of his translator (right) - and to the delight of FA chief Barwick; GLENN HODDLEL KEVIN KEEGAN; SVEN GORAN ERIKSSON; STEVE McCLAREN; THE CLUB RECORD OF A WINNER.. WITH A CAPITAL 'W'
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 18, 2007
Words:1082
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