Manchester United player describes pre-Capello England as a circus: We all know who the clown was!

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This is not the first time that a foreign manager has been acclaimed for bringing in the required level of professionalism to football in England. Arsene Wenger did exactly the same thing when arriving at Arsenal, placing a ban on booze and paying special attention to the diet and lifestyle of his players. It appears as though Fabio Capello has brought in some much-needed discipline at international level, according to one of England’s senior players.

Stand-in captain Rio Ferdinand has plenty to say for himself at the moment, and the BBC report that the Manchester United defender claims the England set-up was nothing short of a circus before the Italian was brought in on a handsome salary. The centre-half is pleased that the WAG culture has been ironed out to a large extent, and the focus is right back on footballing matters.

The 29-year-old said: “We became a bit of a circus, in terms of the whole WAG (wives and girlfriends) situation. People were worrying more about what other people were wearing and where they were going, rather than the team.

“It seems like there was a big show around the whole England squad,” added Ferdinand.

“It was like watching a theatre unfolding and football almost became a secondary element to the main event. When you step back and look back at that, you think like it was a circus. I’m not going to tell the other players what you should or should not do but I just think that, as a squad, we were a bit too open, going out in and around Baden-Baden, and probably had too much contact with families.

“You don’t get many tournaments in your career. To give yourself the best chance, you have to be focused. That then transposed itself into the team. This regime is very watertight. If I’m honest, it feels as if we’re going in the right direction. I don’t want to speak too soon but you can see we’re at the start of something and hopefully there will be bigger rewards than what we’ve had in the past.”

Should Sven-Goran Eriksson take the rap for letting standards slip when he was England manager? Do you agree with the Manchester United man that players should be able to cope without their loved ones for a few short weeks and concentrate on the job in hand?

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