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We'll fight 'em on the pitches - just inspire us a bit more, Fabio; Greavsie jimmy.greaves@people.co.uk.



Byline: DAVE KIDD

FOR once in my life, I found myself agreeing with Fabio Capello this week.

I honestly don't believe that a football manager needs a huge vocabulary in order to successfully get his message across to players.

OK, so the England boss was exaggerating when he said he only needed 100 words - but I played for AC Milan for only around five months, and I was already what you might call 'football fluent' in Italian after such a short spell.

Basically, I knew a few key football terms and I could swear - in fact, half a century on, I can still turn the air blue in Italian. It's a beautiful language, even the cursing sounds poetic!

I knew what words I needed to wind up the opposition and I knew what insults they were throwing at me.

Apart from that, there was little else I needed to understand. I still knew what a good through-ball from midfield looked like.

I could understand pretty much all of what was being said in team talks. It was only when things got heated and people started talking too quickly that I struggled. I refuse believe Capello's of skills problem So I refuse to believe that it's Capello's lack of language skills that have caused his problem.

Ask any great orator or standup comic and they'll tell you that speaking in public is as much about timing as it is about content.

It's not WHAT you say but HOW you say it. And a good manmanager needs warmth, understanding, humour and the ability to inspire.

I don't believe Capello had those qualities at last year's World Cup and I don't believe he has them now.

I hope he proves me wrong in Poland and Ukraine next year but from what I see and hear, he seems to have a lot in common with my old Milan boss Nereo Rocco, who was a real b*****d in any language.

Now I have no idea why anybody would want to make such a song and dance about who captains any football team.

You wear an armband, you carry a ball out under your arm and toss a coin - after that, football is chaos. It doesn't matter a damn who's the skipper.

Yet the way Capello made such a pig's ear of the issue - and has still failed to speak to Rio Ferdinand about his decision to hand the captaincy back to John Terry - suggests his problem is a lack of manners, rather than vocabulary.

After all, England had played one game in the previous four months before this last round of international matches, so it was not as if Capello didn't have the time to meet Rio for half an hour.

There have been many football managers - good, bad and indifferent - who have been men of few words.

Our old Chelsea boss Ted Drake rarely said anything more than "All the best, lads" before a game - and this became an in-joke with the players. We called ourselves the 'All The Best Club'.

to lack language are the Jimmy Armfield, an England captain who would never have got too queenie about the loss of an armband, tells a lovely story about his old Blackpool gaffer Joe Smith, the man who led the Tangerines to the FA Cup in the Matthews Final of 1953.

Apparently Joe surprised everyone before one particular match in London by calling a team talk - something he had never felt the need to do before.

Intrigued, the lads gathered round, and Joe told them: "Right, you'll have to get in and out of the bath quickly after this game, because we have got to catch the 5.40pm from Euston - OK?" We might expect a little more than that from Capello, but we cannot expect him to be Winston Churchill.

One way or another, the key is to get your players to warm to you, and love, like football, truly is a universal language.

GREAVSIE WAS TALKING TO CHIEF SPORTS WRITER DAVE KIDD - SEE ALL HIS COLUMNS AT www.people.co.uk/sport
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUE
Date:Apr 3, 2011
Words:681
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