Capello labels England’s notorious WAGs a ‘virus’

Carly Zucker Vanessa Perroncel WAGs

Vanessa Perroncel and Cheryl Cole are gone, and now the WAGs are under fire from Fabio

BY Jonathan Harwood LAST UPDATED AT 14:59 ON Mon 1 Mar 2010

England manager Fabio Capello appears to have declared war on his players' wives and girlfriends - the notorious WAGS - labelling them a "virus" and warning them to stay away from the team during the World Cup.

The army of glamorous partners that accompanies the England squad to international tournaments generates as much excitement off the pitch as the players do on it - but obviously annoys Capello.

At the 2006 World Cup the socialising and shopping exploits of the likes of Victoria Beckham, Cheryl Cole and Coleen McLoughlin (now Rooney) was covered in minute detail by the press.

Such was the hype that they were blamed for distracting the squad and contributing to England's failure to make it past the quarter-finals. Among the highlights was an hour-long spending spree of £55,000 in the boutiques of Baden-Baden and a £3,000 champagne bill run up on the eve of a match.

Capello, though, has a very different management style to that of the former England boss Sven Goran-Eriksson (who even had a WAG of his own in the form of Nancy Dell'Olio) and he does not intend to let the WAGs undermine his World Cup campaign.

After bringing a sense of order back to the dressing room and taking on the British press Capello has now rounded on the WAGs.

Somewhat cryptically he said: "I think it will be [like a] virus, no? I think so. I hope so. The same virus of the last World Cup." But he was rather more forthright when he stated: "They stay out of the training ground, you understand?"

On taking over as manager he announced that his players would only be allowed to see their partners once a week, and stated: "We're going to South Africa to play, not for a holiday."

Capello's stance is perhaps unsurprising - his plans have already been disrupted by WAG-related problems. First he was forced to sack his captain John Terry over the revelation that he had an affair with Vanessa Perroncel, the ex-girlfriend of another England player, Wayne Bridge.

He has also now lost the services of Bridge, who refuses to play in the same team as Terry, and has effectively retired from international football.

Perroncel (pictured above with Joe Cole's wife Carly Zucker in 2006) has now left the WAGs union, as has another key figure - Cheryl Cole - who has split up with husband Ashley over his infidelity. And there is evidence to suggest the power of the WAGs may be on the wane. Although she was once their spiritual leader, Victoria Beckham has now distanced herself from their lifestyle, while Coleen Rooney has become a mother and has been keeping a low profile since the birth of her son in November.

However, some of the WAGs will be travelling to South Africa and it is reported they are planning to set up camp at the five-star Palace of the Lost City hotel in Sun City, 15 miles from the players' base. · 

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