Capello names top three
Fabio Capello has hailed Wayne Rooney, James Milner and Theo Walcott for their impact on England.
Last Updated: 29/03/10 10:18pm
England coach Fabio Capello has hailed Wayne Rooney, James Milner and Theo Walcott for their impact on the international side.
The Italian was asked which players had impressed him in recent times in an interview screened in Spain on Monday by Gol Television.
Capello's selection of Rooney was almost inevitable, given the Manchester United striker's stunning form this season, with the 33-goal forward due to spearhead the Three Lions' attack this summer.
Walcott made an early impact during Capello's tenure before seeing his international ambitions blighted by injury, while Villa midfielder Milner has looked comfortable on the biggest stage having made the step up from the Under-21s.
"Last year it was Walcott, he was very important for us in the World Cup qualifiers," Capello said of the fleet-footed Arsenal ace, who bagged a hat-trick away to Croatia and is now back in the reckoning.
"This year the player who has most improved has been Milner. He played three or four games with us and forms part of the national team.
"The other who has been crucial is Rooney because this year he has scored a lot of goals, and he has done so for us as well," he added.
"He has been very impressive. I hope he maintains this form for South Africa."
Capello's comments suggest Walcott and Milner could be at the forefront of his thoughts for this summer's tournament in South Africa, while Rooney will be the first name on his team-sheet.
"There are three players who can make a difference at present," Capello added. "One is (Cristiano) Ronaldo, the other (Lionel) Messi, and Rooney.
"After these I believe there are two more. One is Kun (Sergio) Aguero and the other is Pato. They are very young and the future is for them."
Capello is still waiting to hear if David Beckham will take up the offer to join England's squad in a non-playing role this summer.
The former captain saw his dreams of appearing at a fourth successive finals scuppered when he ruptured his Achilles tendon while in action for AC Milan.
"He is an important player for us because he is someone who is always ready to play, be it 10 or 15 minutes or half an hour. He is very important in the dressing room," Capello said.
"For the English he is a symbol. We have asked him if he wants to come with us to South Africa. It's up to him and how his tendon is recovering."