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Wed 6 Feb 2008 12:21 AM

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Gerrard named England captain as Capello lays down law

Manager sets out plans to instil a 'winning mentality' in his under-achieving squad.

Fabio Capello has made Steven Gerrard his captain for his first match in charge of England and set out his plans to instil a "winning mentality" in his under-achieving squad.

Gerrard, 27, takes the armband for Wednesday's friendly against Switzerland in the absence of John Terry, the regular captain under Capello's predecessor Steve McClaren, who was sacked after England failed to reach Euro 2008.

Capello indicated that he will not be deciding on a long-term captain until just before England begin their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign in September.

"Gerrard is not going to be a permanent captain and I am not going to name one before the first qualifier against Andorra," Capello said. "But he is an important player for all the team, he can pass on things and inspire other players".

Gerrard, who will win his 64th cap on Wednesday, has captained the side six times previously, with England winning two and losing four of those matches.

Terry remains the favourite to continue in the role once he resumes playing but Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is also a candidate.

By the time of the Andorra match, Capello wants to have created a group of players drilled in the methods that brought him success at AC Milan, Juventus, Roma and Real Madrid.

"Our objective is to form a group that will gel together before our first game against Andorra," he said.

"These last two days we worked very hard on the tactical front. We have anaylsed videos, all of this in order to create a group mentality and more importantly a way of moving on the pitch that reflects my ideas about football. "I have seen very good cooperation from the players".

Capello, speaking in Italian, side-stepped a question about his decision to leave David Beckham out of his first squad, denying him a 100th cap.

"I respect greatly David Beckham for all we did together at Real Madrid," said Capello. "But the most important thing is to talk about the players who will play tomorrow, not the ones who are not here".

Capello also defended his introduction of rules governing how the players conduct themselves while on England duty, which include a ban on using mobile phones outside their bedrooms and the exclusion of agents, wives and girlfriends from the team hotel.

The Italian believes clear ground rules are vital if he is to change the mindset of a group of players whose billing as a "golden generation," was left looking absurd after their failure to reach Euro 2008.

"I set some rules because we are only here together for three days," Capello said. "In three days we need to create a way of working.

"Things like eating together, getting up (from the table) together, being punctual - in a nutshell it's about respecting each other".

"I can't see why anyone would break these rules. People make mistakes obviously but if you want to be part of a group you have to follow the rules of the group.

"If we follow rules we can create a group and a specific winning mentality which is what I want".

Capello has lived up to his promise of being able to speak English to the players in training sessions, but he is not yet sufficiently confident to address the media in the language of his adopted country.

"I will speak English with you when I know all the terms and the right phrases because you are very good at twisting things. So I am very careful. But I can communicate with the players in an easier way, so I am more comfortable with them".

Capello, who described his experience of English life in his first month in the country as "FA, hotel, matches", also admitted he expected to feel a few butterflies in his stomach when he leads the team out at Wembley on Wednesday.

"I imagine I will feel a bit nervous but once the game starts I will be 100 percent focused and concentrating on the match".

The Italian is not expecting an easy ride from the joint Euro 2008 hosts.

"Switzerland are a good team. I have watched them several times and they have good players and they are very good, very dangerous on the counter attack".

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