Ultimately this must have been more of a decision against Johnson than for Wright-Phillips: based on recent form and performance in friendlies Wright-Phillips did not present a compelling case for his inclusion. Rather, Capello must have seen something that halted his enthusiasm for including AJ, an indication from somewhere that Johnson was not quite ready for a World Cup squad yet. Capello's comments that Johnson found it 'difficult to breathe' are instructive, and I imagine that Johnson's uncharacteristic refusal to dive in the box showed Capello that he cannot quite play his natural game at international level.
Adam Johnson's collapsing Jenga tower act won us valuable penalties in the home games against Bolton Wanderers and Aston Villa last season. He could well have won us another at the Boleyn Ground, and bought us a decent crop of free-kicks too. It's a big part of his game and something he does well. But when Gerardo Torrado hauled him back at Wembley he did not have the confidence to go down and win us that penalty. He stayed on his feet and nothing came of the opportunity.
Maybe I'm reading too much into too little but that one moment could well have convinced Capello that Johnson does not yet have the confidence to play for England as he does for City, something you could never say of Wright-Phillips.