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Capello hails young Lions as England down Spain

Fabio Capello hailed the emergence of a fresh and "fearless" crop of young England internationals after watching his side upset world champions Spain 1-0 at Wembley.

sports Updated: Nov 13, 2011 08:43 IST

Fabio Capello hailed the emergence of a fresh and "fearless" crop of young England internationals after watching his side upset world champions Spain 1-0 at Wembley.

A 49th-minute Frank Lampard goal gave Capello's side a smash-and-grab victory against the Spaniards, who dominated possession and territory but were unable to break down an inspired English defence.

But while the winning goal from one of England's longest-serving players, Capello preferred to focus instead on the contribution of the youngsters who he had chosen to blood against the world and European champions.

Manchester United's 19-year-old defender Phil Jones did not do much wrong in an unfamiliar midfield role, while subsitutes Jack Rodwell (2O), Danney Welbeck (20) and Kyle Walker (21) all looked comfortable.

Capello said the emergence of so many young players -- both Rodwell and Walker were making their senior appearances -- augured well for England's Euro 2012 campaign in Poland and Ukraine next summer.

"For me the most important thing that I saw this evening is the performance of Rodwell, the performance of Jones, Welbeck -- really, really good young players," Capello enthused.

"Walker, when he came on he was immediately in the game. I think these players will be really important for the Euros.

"Because they played without fear, they played with personality on the pitch, physically and technically I can see they are good to play with the seniors."

Capello was also relieved to see that his gamble to rest captain John Terry -- embroiled in racism allegations but expected to return to the side against Sweden on Tuesday -- paid off handsomely.

In the absence of Terry, England's central defensive partnership of former Everton team-mates Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka looked comfortable throughout, with Manchester City's Lescott in particular excelling.

"This evening the two centre backs played fantastically," Capello said. "Really good. Every time Spain tried to pass through they were in good positions. They played with big, big confidence.

"And if you play without confidence against Spain it's impossible to get a good result."

Capello also made no apologies for seeking to stymie Spain's celebrated midfield artists, with England defending deep and in numbers from the outset.

"We prepared the game against Spain with this style. We needed to be focused in every moment of the game.

"The most difficult thing when you play against this team is not only to win back the ball but after when you've got the ball, they press you immediately to win back the ball. For this reason it's really really difficult."

Victory would hand England a useful confidence boost ahead of next year's European Championship finals.

"I think it's important for the squad to find confidence, it's important for the crowd, for the fans. Because when we beat the world champions it's important," he said.

Capello confirmed he plans to make wholesale changes to his side for the visit of Sweden on Tuesday, with Terry and Gary Cahill replacing Lescott and Jagielka in defence.

Walker will also win his first start along with another youngster Chelsea's 22-year-old Daniel Sturridge.

"I need to know the value of the players in Wembley. Because this is a big test for all the players when they play here," Capello said.

The Italian also singled out man-of-the-match Scott Parker, who again highlighted the error of his omission from the 2010 World Cup squad with a tireless display in front of England's back four.

"Incredible performance," Capello said. "He's improving every game. He's a really important player for the back four when he plays the ball."

First Published: Nov 13, 2011 08:42 IST