x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

A day full of suspense and drama

Capello's tactic of phoning up the players avoided any broken chairs, but ensured the most theatrical squad announcement in his adopted nation's history.

Perhaps Fabio Capello was wary of Glenn Hoddle's experiences in 1998 when he decided to break the news to the seven players cut from his England squad yesterday via phone conversations. The traditional way of telling players face to face did not work out too well for Hoddle, who watched Paul Gascoigne trash his hotel room after discovering he would not go to the finals in France. Capello's tactic avoided any broken chairs, but ensured the most theatrical squad announcement in his adopted nation's history. Players and agents were quick to pass on news to journalists, with England supporters able to follow the ins and outs of the squad live on television channels and websites long before any official announcement. The drip-drip nature of the day was reminiscent of voting at the Eurovision Song Contest, another international event the United Kingdom have fallen out of contention for. First we learnt that Darren Bent was out. Then Theo Walcott. Then Joe Cole was in and Adam Johnson was out. Then Ledley King was out, then he was back in. All while waiting for news on Gareth Barry, the midfielder whose fitness would potentially be pivotal for Capello. Advances in technology have made all this possible. England's players are now said to be banned from Twitter, but journalists were still quick to spread news via the medium. Walcott was on a golf course when he got the call from Capello. As the day drew on and the announcement was delayed, a theory developed that the wait was because Capello could not get through to one of the unlucky players. It was the sort of scenario you would imagine in a Monty Python sketch from the British comedy series rather than a team with aspirations of being crowned world champions in a little over five weeks time. lthornhill@thenational.ae