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Fabio Capello's wasted trip to Manchester United

September 30, 2009 |  3:05 pm


Despite the rain and the gloom, Fabio Capello took a trip up to Manchester today to scout a few players appearing in Manchester United's game against VfL Wolfsburg in the European Champions League.

England's national team coach should have saved himself the time.

Ben Foster, who is nowhere ready for World Cup-level play, did not make an appearance. It was third-string goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak who started in the nets for United, which won, 2-1. Scratch Foster.

Michael Owen, who had claimed only days ago that he is "not past it" and is "as passionate as ever" about playing for England, limped off after 20 minutes with yet another injury. Scratch Owen.

Rio Ferdinand, as overrated a defender as there is in the United ranks, was OK, but on one occasion he was turned inside out by Grafite, Wolfsburg's Brazilian striker. Grafite can't even get on Brazil's national team, so imagine what the likes of Kaka, Robinho, Luis Fabiano and the rest will do to Ferdinand next summer in South Africa.

Wayne Rooney was Wayne Rooney, but he failed to add to his goal total in European competition, further supporting United Coach Alex Ferguson's view that Rooney has yet to rise to the level of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.

Michael Carrick scored United's game-winner, but Ferguson himself could have put the ball in the net after Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov and Welshman Ryan Giggs, who scored the first United goal, had done the creative work.

All in all, it was a wasted trip for Capello, who on Sunday will name his squad for England's final two World Cup qualifying games.

For more on today's Champions League games, see later today.

--Grahame L. Jones

Photo: Fabio Capello. Credit: Luca Bruno, AP.