England boss Fabio Capello has warned his players their off-field conduct will be a factor in whether they make his World Cup squad.
Capello sacked John Terry as England captain over allegations of an affair with Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend. Ashley Cole has also hit the headlines over his separation from wife Cheryl.
“The players have to understand what I want, if you want to stay with me,” said Capello. “It will be very important because we need to create a group.”
The Italian will stress the importance of team spirit and personal discipline when he talks to his players prior to England’s friendly with Egypt on 3 March.
“The World Cup is really important for me, for England and for the players,” he explained. “We have to stay together and compact in every moment. I think this will be my most important job – to recreate this spirit.
“After four months, we will meet the players next week and it will be a very important game for many reasons. One is also this [situation].
“We will talk about a lot of things because four months is a long time. If you can meet the players every month it is different. We will have two days to stay together but they are very strong days.”
Capello is confident that Cole will be fit for the World Cup finals but says Bridge will deputise until then.
“I spoke with Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti and our doctors spoke with Chelsea’s doctors,” added Capello. “We hope he will be fit in two months more or less and I think he will be ready for the World Cup.
“Wayne Bridge? Why not? He is a left-back. Cole and Bridge are the best left-backs.”