ENGLAND players who skip friendlies at the end of the season could damage their international careers, coach Fabio Capello said.
England play the United States at Wembley on May 28 and travel to the Caribbean to face Trinidad & Tobago on June 1 in friendlies before they begin their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign in September.
“If a player doesn’t love to play for England then perhaps he should stay at home,” British newspapers quoted Capello as saying during a visit to Lesotho.
“Players must love the England shirt and that is all there is to it.
“If someone doesn’t want to come and play for England, it means they obviously don’t love the shirt enough. They must prefer to go on holiday.”
Capello, who took charge in December and has yet to name a full-time captain, said 22-year-old striker Wayne Rooney had the makings of a future skipper although he needed to improve his scoring rate.
“Wayne Rooney is very young but I believe in the future he could be captain of England one day,” the Italian said.
“He’s a leader. He sets a good example on the pitch. He is very young so we need to give him a bit more time to get some more experience and mature.
“There is one thing he has got to improve and will improve. In every game he has a lot of scoring chances and he doesn’t take them, or nowhere near as many of them as he should. I am fairly sure he will in the future.
“What he needs to do is be more relaxed in front of goal and not develop an obsession about it.”
Rooney had an international scoring drought after Euro 2004, only netting his next competitive goal in a Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia in October. – Reuters.