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Capello: Tired England will always struggle
Former England coach Fabio Capello believes English football must consider introducing a winter break if they are to compete at the World Cup and European Championships.
Capello, who managed England at the 2010 World Cup and oversaw their qualification for Euro 2012 before stepping down, says the continuous 38-game Premier League season was the key factor in England's perceived underperformance in international tournaments.
The relentless fixture list, plus domestic and European cup competitions, left him with an exhausted national squad before the World Cup in South Africa had even begun.
Now manager of Russia, Capello believes he left a good legacy in England but is in no doubt as to why the side has not gone beyond the quarter-finals of a major tournament since 1996.
"Because they're tired," Capello told FIFA.com. "They're the least fresh of any of the competing national sides, because their league doesn't have a break.
"It's like when you're driving a car: if you stop halfway to put fuel in then you'll definitely get where you want to go, but if you don't then there's always the chance you'll be running on empty before you reach your goal.
"In my opinion the football played in the first half of the English season is much better than in the second half. And because of that, if you want to be a competitive team in the Premier League, you need a really big squad, which is a luxury you don't get with the national team."
Asked to assess his own time as England manager, Capello said: "I think it went very well, but it could have gone even better.
"The way we went out [of South Africa 2010] against Germany still hurts. That aside, I feel satisfied. I arrived after the team had missed out on qualifying for Euro 2008, but under me we easily made it through two qualifying campaigns.
"My win record was very good and I also gave loads of young players a chance, such as Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, Phil Jones, Ashley Young, James Milner and Joe Hart. Theo Walcott had already played a game for England but he established himself under me. I feel I left a good legacy."