“Rooney,” said Capello, “is a really good player, a really important player. For a long time he has been the best player of the national team.

“But the player is difficult to understand. He can do something fantastic, and he can make a silly mistake.” Capello’s despair is redolent of managers and coaches down the years who have wrestled with the conundrum that Britain produces so very few truly world-class players — and one by one, those gifted individuals appear temperamentally flawed.

Rooney emerged from Croxteth, a tough suburb of Liverpool into a life of superstardom and wealth.

Rooney is well known for both his talent and his temper.

Capello was asked whether he might have seen it coming, because the day before the game Rooney’s father and an uncle had been arrested and questioned by the police investigating allegations of soccer betting fraud in Scotland. Capello replied that he had spoken to Rooney and deemed him to be calm, relaxed and ready to play.  

Rooney's red card means a mandatory one-match ban at the start of the finals, but a disciplinary panel in Switzerland on Thursday might bar him for two, or even three games.

Capello has no choice but to plan for his last tournament in charge of England without Rooney.

“He will not play the next games,” Capello said, meaning that Rooney will not start a Nov. 12 friendly match against the world champion, Spain, or subsequent preparatory games before the Euro.

“I want to test new players,” the coach said. “A new style and a new movement, something different.” The journalists listening to Capello could not quite believe that he would go to the tournament next summer with the star man sidelined.

“In my life,” Capello said, “I have put a lot of players on the bench. I always decide who is the best player at that moment.”

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