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Rediff.com  » Sports » Ferdinand gets England captaincy despite chequered past

Ferdinand gets England captaincy despite chequered past

February 06, 2010 10:36 IST

John Terry's sacking as England skipper Friday opened the door for a significant turnaround in fortune for Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand who will take over the captain's armband.

When Ferdinand missed a doping test in 2003 it cost him an eight-month ban from football, ruled him out of Euro 2004 and cast a cloud over the career of one of England's most talented defenders even though there was no suggestion he had taken drugs.

He also missed the 1998 World Cup finals after being left out by then manager Glenn Hoddle following a drink-driving charge.

Ferdinand, 31, has ridden himself of his bad-boy image in recent years but there are still doubts over his suitability as England captain as he has been hampered by back injuries and only recently returned after being sidelined since October.

No sooner had the former West Ham United and Leeds United defender come back than he was involved in more controversy, getting a three-match ban for striking Hull City's Craig Fagan.

Ferdinand appealed against the charge of violent conduct and the suspension was subsequently increased to four games.

England coach Fabio Capello named Ferdinand vice-captain when he handed the skipper's armband to Terry in August 2008.

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"When I chose John Terry as captain I also selected a vice-captain and also named a third choice (Steven Gerrard)," Capello said Friday. "There is no reason to change this decision."

Providing he is fit Ferdinand will lead the team out for the friendly at home to Egypt next month and will have the honour of captaining his country at the World Cup in South Africa in June.

"As a kid you grow up wanting to play for England and lead your country out and I've been given that honour of being able to fulfil those dreams," Ferdinand said when he captained the side against France in Capello's second game in charge.

After the tabloid frenzy of the past week regarding Terry's extra-marital affair with the former girlfriend of England team mate Wayne Bridge, England will be hoping Ferdinand can smooth over any potential dressing room tension.

"John Terry is by far for me the best skipper in the team but Fabio Capello thinks it's best for the squad," former Arsenal and England midfielder Ray Parlour told the BBC.

"Rio Ferdinand will do a great job. If you're going to win the World Cup you don't just need one skipper, you need at least four or five around the pitch."

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