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30 Mar 2011

Fabio Capello ended one of his most difficult weeks as England manager by singling out Danny Welbeck, Andy Carroll and Jack Wilshere as reasons for genuine optimism about the future.

Carroll scored his first international goal with a clinical first-half finish while Welbeck made his England debut amid booing from the 20,000 Ghanaian fans inside Wembley.

Welbeck, who was born in Manchester but has Ghanaian parents, will remain eligible for both England and Ghana until he plays a competitive international fixture.

Capello, though, is adamant that the 20-year-old Manchester United striker will become a vital player for England. “Welbeck will be another really important player for England and very important for Manchester United next season,” he said. “He will be a good player and he can improve. I monitored him last year and I always thought he was really important. He played right wing last year and did well.”

Ghana coach Goran Stevanovic said he had made numerous attempts to persuade Welbeck to commit his future to the World Cup quarter-finalists. “I’ve asked him various times but unfortunately he has started to play for England — that’s good for him but unfortunate for us because he’s a very good player,” he said.

Capello was also greatly encouraged by the performance of Carroll who, despite moments of indifference, took his goal with the authority of a player who truly believes that he belongs on the international stage.

“Carroll needs more time to improve but he’s a really important player,” Capello said. “For the big players it’s impossible to improve really quickly like Aaron Lennon or Jack Wilshere but it’s important that he scored a goal. Wilshere is also a really important player.”

Carroll was delighted to demonstrate his international potential following his recent thigh injury. “I’m coming back fit now — getting the goal proved I’m here and ready to score goals for England,” he said.

Capello’s decision to select what was virtually an England ‘B’ team had attracted considerable criticism but, after a week that has been dominated by his man-management style, he clearly felt that his experimental selections were vindicated.

“It was not a friendly game; there were two teams on the pitch playing well, strongly, with lots of tackles,” he said. “Every tackle was a fight. The players played without fear and with confidence. Ghana are a really good team. It was an exciting game, a fast game, a really important game for

the fans to know some players who never played.

“It was also interesting for me to know the value of these players to play here at Wembley in a senior shirt.”

The match in 100 words

armband, four-three-three, move with times, strength in depth, new faces, leaf, stake claim, fight, prove themselves, versatile, pressing, no pressure, friendly, rocking, party atmosphere, out in force, vibrant, raucous, anthems, mumbling, forgetful, overblown, ceremonial, under way, studs up, early running, missed chances, how did he miss that? like a challenge, domination, possession, dogged, good touch for big man, first of many, off mark, raised hopes, breather, team-talk, lost their focus, sit back, well-deserved equaliser, substitutions, debut, forgettable, resilient, goalmouth scramble, flagging, backs-to-wall job, composure, heroics at death, jubilation, captain’s performance, honours even, fair result


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