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Ferdinand blow exposes England

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Phil McNulty | 14:51 UK time, Friday, 4 June 2010

World Cup 2010: Rustenburg

Rio Ferdinand - tempting fate to a degree it found impossible to resist - claimed his catalogue of injuries at Manchester United could provide "a silver lining" for England's World Cup hopes.

The theory, fatally flawed, was that the problems that restricted him to only 21 appearances would leave him refreshed and at the peak of fitness to captain Fabio Capello's squad in their South African campaign.

No silver lining was detected as he was taken to hospital after damaging his left knee in the closing moments of England's first training session after challenging with Emile Heskey - only clouds for Capello and Ferdinand on an otherwise sun-kissed Rustenburg day.

Ferdinand suffered the heartbreak of missing the showpiece that was to be the pinnacle of his career, offering him the possibility of being the first England captain since Bobby Moore to lift the game's greatest prize.

Captain Ferdinand makes his way to hospital on crutchesCaptain Rio Ferdinand makes his way to hospital on crutches

He remains one of the world's premier central defenders, but the physical package is now so severely damaged that Ferdinand's possible breakdown must surely have crossed Capello's radar when he named his squad.

Capello is the most meticulous of planners - one of his coaching team received a blast in Italian on Friday for not putting a practice cone exactly where he required - so the element of risk involved in the injury-plagued Ferdinand's presence will have been calculated.

England's first day of serious work in the warm but comfortable heat of Rustenburg was progressing perfectly. The mood of Capello's squad was buoyant as they went through their paces on the perfect pitch presented by the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus.

Gareth Barry had lifted the mood by appearing for training as he recovers from an ankle injury, and David Beckham was even on hand to join the warm-up as part of his new role within the squad.

But spirits sunk a couple of hours later as a stone-faced Capello gave a "good news-bad news" media briefing by delivering an upbeat bulletin on Barry before revealing Ferdinand was on his way to a local hospital for a scan on his knee that saw him ruled out of the World Cup.

Ferdinand's injury represents both a huge personal blow and a severe setback to England. Capello had been relying on Ferdinand's long-term partnership with John Terry to form the bedrock of his defence.

Sadly, the fears that Ferdinand's fragile fitness may let him down during the tournament came to fruition. And the fact he failed to make it through England's opening work-out in South Africa left even the pragmatic, philosophical Capello with a fight to maintain a brave face.

Capello is certain morale will not be hit by Ferdinand's absence, but it is sure to have at least inflicted a temporary jolt on a squad who will have looked to the defender to provide leadership, experience and presence.

And with Terry also facing question marks about his fitness, an already vulnerable area of England's squad has been left exposed. Capello has called on Ledley King for such circumstances - but his injury record still provokes an outbreak of crossed fingers every time he steps out on to the turf.

King's central defensive partner at Tottenham, Michael Dawson, was boarding a flight bound for South Africa on Friday night to replace Ferdinand. He had an outstanding season as Spurs reached the Champions League, but he has never played international football and Capello showed no inclination to give him even a brief taste in England's final two warm-up friendlies against Mexico and Japan.

Indeed Spurs boss Harry Redknapp was critical of Capello's treatment of Dawson and West Ham United's Scott Parker, claiming they had felt like "ghosts" on the altitude training trip to Austria before his 30-man squad was pared down to 23.

Now Capello must hope Ferdinand's injury, and the problems it leaves him to solve, does not become England's spectre at this football feast.

It is now easy to see why Capello was so keen to ignore King's injury problems and persuade Liverpool's Jamie Carragher to end his self-imposed England retirement.

Carragher can cover all bases at the back, while Capello will know King is a class act when fit - although his display against Mexico was, to put it kindly, laboured.

Capello was defiant enough to sweep aside Ferdinand's injury to insist England remain one of the teams who can win the World Cup, but there was a qualification to his confidence.

"Sometimes you need to be lucky," he said. After losing one captain to problems of a personal nature and another to the latest in a long line of injuries, Capello will be hoping he has used up his stock of ill-fortune before the World Cup commences.

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Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Fingers crossed...

  • Comment number 2.

    Ferdinand is a big miss for England, but it is hard to not find yourself asking the question surley it is better he leaves now, before the start of the tournament, and when Dawson can get flown in, rather then at the second or third match in the group stages.
    Anyway must feel for Ferdinand, must be a dreadful thing to happen to you

  • Comment number 3.

    Better send Jagielka a text to tell him to get in the gym each day on holiday just in case another of them goes down before next Friday. And Sol Campbell. And Gary Cahill.

    And presumably Huddlestone and Parker in case Barry et al go hors de combat. And Johnson and Walcott too. Especially if read their Tom Sawyer.

    You'd think someone in Hollywood was scripting this, wouldn't you?

    Perhaps they are, what with Tom Cruise getting himself tattoed to play Beckham next year..........

    And what with Algeria and the US paired up against England.....

  • Comment number 4.

    True, England are now frail at the back but if ferdiand is out then Ledley King will porve an able replacement, providing he stays fit and injury free. I see King as almost on a par with Terry and Ferdinand and therefore Englands starting two centre backs will be very able regardeless of whether Ferdinand plays. I hope Rio makes it as he is a great player and I believe he will be a great captain.

  • Comment number 5.

    A big loss off the pitch, not so on it. King/Cara/Dawson I feel can do the job, if not better. When Gerrard had the armband against Egypt he was a different man, so I'm very optimistic.

  • Comment number 6.

    Great article, as a Spurs fan I see this as a major blow. Ferdinand is a class act when playing and as our captain changing again then this can only upset the rhythm of the team to a certain extent.

    If we sail through the first two games with wins then Upson/Carra/Dawson can come in for King for the third to wrap him in more cotton wool for the latter games. King is world-class too in my eyes and can play at least 2 games a week and will not let England down and I hope the fans get behind him.

    People shouldn't play up the role of Dawson too much as he will not get a game. Upson/Terry/Carra/King are all infront of him in the pecking order for the CB position.

    The main point though which I feel you didn't touch on too much Phil is that Gerrard HAS to step up to the occasion. Rooney can lead by example but when he isn't, our captain has to step in.
    COME ON ENGLAND

  • Comment number 7.

    It's a pity that Rio had to get injured to right the wrong of Capello ignoring all wisdom and leaving an in form Michael Dawson at home

    It is obvious that you always give yourself as much choice as possible and Capello did not do that by preferring to stick with a handful of known faces instead of trying new blood

  • Comment number 8.

    oh come on, England now have (given Ferdinand's fitness/breakdown concerns) a more resolute and fit defence.

    We're well placed now and will go from strength to strength

    Fed up of negativity from pretty much all corners so I have decided to look at my pint glass as more than half full!

  • Comment number 9.

    King has to start in my opinion. Terry is slow and has no agility, so playing similar types like Carragher and Upson alongside him could definitely leave England exposed. Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson both have good covering pace, but with them likely to push forward quite a lot a pairing of Terry and Carragher/Upson could leave England very vulnerable.

    Very bad news for England. King's fitness is fragile too, so Capello must be worried.

    On another point, also bad news about Drogba. I'm not a fan of his histrionics or his character but the World Cup needs its star players. Especially African ones this time around. Hope he recovers to play a part.

    http://twoyellowcards.co.uk/

  • Comment number 10.

    Ferdinand was a shadow of his imperious self this season, he looked laboured and easily turned. But in international football experience is king, and his influence will be missed.

    It's really too early to say whether this will be detrimental to England. You need a great defence to win a World Cup these days, but England's back ups are still good players.

    Dawson and King have both had better seasons than Ferdinand, Upson or Carragher. I don't think Ferdinand is the worst player for England to lose at this stage.

  • Comment number 11.

    This world is gonna be played in Africa, life is not easy in Africa, if England coach continues to pick up frail, injury prone players I am sorry to say bye-bye England. Cappello Must pick up strong players not injured Players, Berry is injured but he is in Africa waiting to get strong. This is Africa a place not for sisi babies ,a continent for strong men. Lets hope for the better.

  • Comment number 12.

    Shocking Blog

    How can Dawson be on a flight on Friday Night when its Friday afternoon, have you heard of tense (past present and future)"was boarding a flight bound for South Africa on Friday night"

    How can Ledley have a laboured performance, he scored the goal, he got turned one time are you just trying to be all doom and gloom for no reason?! I think Rio was knackered anyway and really should not have been called up.

    King can play 90 mins, only recovering from games does he knee swell up (its not like its going to fall off during the game as you imply)

    Lets be honest Upson going is a disgrace I would have taken Wes Brown at least he can play right back as well.



  • Comment number 13.

    Nice positive blog as usual. What happened to blind patriotic optimism and the good old English attitude to get on with it and not moan?

  • Comment number 14.

    Reports that Ferdinand got injured while getting turned by, of all people ,Emile Heskey suggests this might not be the loss that everyone's claiming it to be.

  • Comment number 15.

    Rio is the type of defender that is good enough to warrant a manager taking a risk on. Unfortunately for us, it didn't pay off, thats life. We have cover, so lets put this episode behind us and move on.

  • Comment number 16.

    From the inside of the England camp, the beans are splilled. It's a cover up I reckon.

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 17.

    To misquote Oscar Wilde "To lose one Captain might be regarded as a misfortune, to lose both looks like carelessness".

    This isnt all that surprising given his recent history, sadly. Now we are going to have one of the slowest central defensive partnerships at the tournament, so fingers crossed that Gareth Barry is going to be available to provide the necessary level of cover in front of them.

  • Comment number 18.

    3 words - Blessing in disguise!!!

    Hardly played this season, rustiness could well have resulted in his injury.

    Start with Jamie C and Terry, and bring that world cup back home!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 19.

    Phil -Surely Cappello had considered that this might happen. I suspect Fabio had Rio 'watched' more than any other player this season and its one of the main reasons he did not send John Terry packing completely (i.e. not just stripping him of the captaincy) after the 'playing at home affair'; he simply couldn't afford to risk losing both his first choice CB's?
    I believe the England Manager had a real concern that even if Rio turned up seemingly fit for inclusion in the squad, his 'fitness record' this last season with Man Utd and England had been precarious to say the least; with seemingly 'simple injuries' suddenly becoming major ones. I do fear for Rio's future playing career.

  • Comment number 20.

    Ferdinand (old slow legs) and James (butter fingers) well pat their sell-by date, Heskey (all the footballing skill of Bruno) and most of the rest not good enough. England will be VERY lucky to get past the quarter finals.

  • Comment number 21.

    How does it expose England? Ferdinand hasn't played very many games for England in the past year, and we still qualified with 2 games to spare.. Dawson has shown he is capable in the best league in the world, and this will be a good opportunity for him. What really exposes England is the fact we're taking John Terry, a defender who's not done terribly well recently, and taking Shaun Wright-Philips, who was dropped by Man City a while back in favour of Adam Johnson.
    Defence is a strong point for England in terms of strength of players who play there, and I'm convinced Ferdinand's injury will focus all the other players at the back, because our defence has been weak at times - when we're unfocussed.

  • Comment number 22.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 23.

    Easily England's best centre-back and will definitely be missed for both his defensive and his leadership qualities. It will be interesting now who will replace him in England's starting line-up against the USA. Carragher is the most experienced deputy but his inclusion alongside Terry will mean a pairing devoid of pace which could lead to typical Carragher fouls and leave the backline exposed. King is best suited to replacing Ferdinand, as he is quick, reads the game very well, has good positional sense and can play the ball from the back, however his longstanding injury could be a problem although resting him in one of the group games would be a possibility. Upson is Capello's most trusted deputy but has his limitations and Dawson has never played international football despite having a good season for his club.

    On the captaincy issue, that is most likely to reside with the recently lacklustre Steven Gerrard. Fitness obviously permitting he will be expected to lead out England against the USA and at his best is a talismanic captain for Liverpool so he is the best man for the job anyway. His vice-captain if required would be interesting to see however and I'd guess would be Rooney over Lampard, Barry or the recently deposed Terry.

  • Comment number 24.

    This is devastating news for Rio and for England if it turns out to be as bad as it looks, but I'm confident that Dawson, Upson and Carragher will step up to the mark and that Gerrard will be able to provide the leadership that we need.

    Come on boys!

  • Comment number 25.

    Really relaxed about this...Ferdinand is yesterday's player...sure he's experienced, but he's old, slow and was already a crock. This does put more pressure/expectation on Terry, but the other centrebacks do not represent a poorer option than Ferdinand. (Though I still think Capello should have taken Jagielka).

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    Typical England. So many opportunities to try players out in friendlies and give them a taste of international experience but instead they get ignored in place of the same old faces. Dawson probably won't add to his tally of 0 international caps, likewise Warnock with his 6 minutes of England football, but it's staggeringly short sighted not to have given them any time in the Mexico & Japan games.

  • Comment number 28.

    The only good about this is that Stevie G is captain and that will give him a major boost in his performance( hopefully)

    Not going our way is it.

  • Comment number 29.

    oh dear.. The horrendous prospect of a Carragher start looms large on the horizon!! :-o

  • Comment number 30.

    The real question missing from this article is: can Gerrard step up to be the captain England truly need in this WC? his season has been very poor by his standards; playing with low confidence, struggling bad form and off field antics (hope there's no DJ in that swanky complex)! Is he really up to leading England to world cup glory!

    In my book I'd give the captaincy back to Terry. Not cause I particularly like the man but the footballer is the best England have in the mould of a captain. He's won the double with Chelsea and the other players respect him ON THE PITCH! that surely must be the main thing now..England winning the World Cup - COME ON!!

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    Saw this coming a mile off. I questioned why he was given the captaincy after Terry, due to his rate of injuries.

    Personally I dont see this as the end of England's hopes (if they indeed have any). I thought Upson had featured in only one match less than Ferdinand under Capello anyway.

  • Comment number 33.

    This is yet another example of the chickens coming home to roost on a Premier League that tolerates (and celebrates) more crunching physical contact than any other league. Compare Premier League referees to Champions League ones. By the end of an English season we always have a major casualty or two due to the excessive rigours of our league of cloggers and thugs.

  • Comment number 34.

    Rio has always been over-rated... remember this last season an injured Torres making him look useless (unable to stop a world class striker from doing a run-around)
    Go Dawson shine!

  • Comment number 35.

    Upson did little wrong partnering Terry in the qualifiers..no panic! Hopefully, the ball will be up the other end of the pitch anyway ;)

    In a poll of supporters Steven Gerrard came out as the preferred captain so no complaints about that one.

  • Comment number 36.

    Why is Dawson allowed to replace him in the squad I thought that once it was named it was fixed come what may? If it isn't what is the cutoff for replacements?

  • Comment number 37.

    I feel for Rio - awful thing to happen to him - but he has had problems with injuries all season and has not shown a lot of form in the games he has played. I think King and Terry can play together. I know Dawson and King can play together. (Though Fabio should have played Daws in a friendly.) I don't think Jamie Carragher will let anyone down. It's bad for Rio, but it could have been worse. It could have been Rooney or Ashley Cole or Frank Lampard - all of whom are vital (and I'm a Spurs fan)

  • Comment number 38.

    It will be no major loss losing Ferdinand. Historically, certain players are great at club level but just dont do it for their country. Ferdinand is one of these players who has been a liability at the back for England on many occasions. (Glen Hoddle and John Barnes are two others that immediately spring to mind and I would also include Steven Gerrard in the current squad).
    Now we know why there were so many defenders in Capello's squad.
    I think a lot of England fans will be happy knowing that Ferdinand wont be playing.

  • Comment number 39.

    Not a problem for me - better now that half way through. I think we've got more than average cover and have always thought Ferdinand over-rated anyway. His absence did Man U no harm this year. As for leadership - stand forward Messrs Gerrard, Lampard and Carragher.

  • Comment number 40.

    I posted a comment about the slf same problem last week but was 'moderated' probably for calling Rooney a 'huffy schoolboy' during the last 2 matches (seconds of brilliance don't make up for the walking about doing naff all for the rest of the match!)
    I likened this squad to the Michael Owen era - lasted 10 minutes! England can't allow themselves to rely on Single players in key positions we've been there and done that and got the shirts to prove it!!
    Look at the team as a whole and ask yourself 'Can we go all the way with the way they play together?' The answer is NO!
    England need to find heart and patriotism then cut out the 'I'm the Greatest' crap and get stuck in ALL OVER THE PITCH, reach out for balls and stop worrying whether you might over stretch something, if they are all as fit as they are paid for competing for a loose ball should be no challenge to them.
    Having said all that - get stuck in lads and play like you really want it!

  • Comment number 41.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 42.

    A huge blow? I think not!

    He was never match fit from the beginning...He has had a very poor season in and out of injury and when he did come back he was unreliable and inconsistent.

    I said from the very beginning he should never have been the Captain and he should never have been included in the England squad.
    You simply cannot expect (no matter how professional) to have a season as he has had and then take on the worlds best and greatest players on the worlds biggest and best stage

    and and

    at high altitude!

    It was never going to happen.

    His exclusion is a blessing in disguise .....He was a HUGE liability with the rest of the squad having to work twice as hard to cover for his mistakes....... and he would have made them.

    I am relieved that he is gone. I would be even more relieved to pick up tomorrows newspaper and read Walcott is in the squad.

    My amended view of England's chances have now improved... I think they'll get to the semis.

  • Comment number 43.

    I don't think it will necessarily hit england as much as the media is making out. Every time i have seen ferdinand playing for england this season and last season he has looked pretty dodgy, making bad decisions and mistakes in defence. I think Jamie Carragher will be a more than capable replacement as he is good at organising defence and maintaining discipline, though maybe he has n't had the best of seasons with liverpool he remains for me a consistent performer. And finally steven gerrard gets to be captain of england. You can probably guess from this that i am a liverpool fan.

  • Comment number 44.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 45.

    'This comment is awaiting moderation. Explain
    --------------------

    Seems to be a popular post today ;)

    P.S id rather not have Ferd, i think Dawson is class and if he starts will do a sterling job...

    Plus ManU players seem to like ruining World Cups for us, Beckham 1998, Neville 2002, Rooney 2006, i had Ferd down as the 2010 one!

  • Comment number 46.

    Fabio’s manifesto has long stated the following two criteria for International tournament selection.

    1. He will not take any players who are not fit.
    2. He will not play players who have not played regularly for their club.

    His chosen Captain Ferdinand had played less than half his available club fixtures, and had failed on both counts, before today's "new" injury. Simply he should have never had gone in the first place.

    There has been serious questions about the fitness of Barry,and King, and with Rooney and Gerrard managing injuries, plus any of our "Fit" players picking up injuries or suspensions, we could well see England in the later stages of a world cup either with several half fit players or a team that has hardly played together.

    Having said that no England World Cup campaign is complete without the "calculated risk" of a half fit player - The memories of Kevin Keegan and Trevor Brooking (Spain 1982) Bryan Robson (Mexico 1986), David Beckham (Japan 2002), Michael Owen, and Wayne Rooney (2006 Germany)live on !

    What then the wisdom of wasted friendlies where the players we all knew about continued to play at the expense of giving fringe players a chance.

    As for the captaincy I think we know that armband or no armband JT is the leader on the pitch.

  • Comment number 47.

    Sad about the injury to Ferdinand but I think I feel a bit easier about our chances now. He is a great player but even at Leeds the biggest problem Ferdinand had was that the errors he made were big ones and very costly.

  • Comment number 48.


    21. At 5:56pm on 04 Jun 2010, Swindon2010 wrote:
    "Dawson has shown he is capable in the best league in the world"


    In what? Dawson plays for Tottenham who are based in England, you know that.



  • Comment number 49.

    as long as there are no more injuries i think we can still win but with with enbgland's luck i wouldn't bet agaisnt it. someone should hide england's self destruct button before they poress it again

  • Comment number 50.

    I dont really think Ferdinand will be that big a miss. He had a stop start season due to injury and looked severly off the pace during the friendlies. Its good that its happened now so we can get a replacement.

  • Comment number 51.

    This could be a blessing in disguise. Ferdinand's form since last season has been poor and his immobility as a result of the dodgy back more than likely would have been cruelly exposed against superior opposition in the later stages of the competition.

    If nothing else at least the injury occurred now rather than after the start of the competition when he could not have been replaced. Hopefully Ferdinand's replacement will follow the precedent of 1990 rings through where Platt replaced the injured Robson and went on to have an excellent tournament.

  • Comment number 52.

    To georgiesthebest7...I have suggested in the blog that a possible injury to Ferdinand would have figured in Capello's thinking before he named his squad, but is it really a blessing in disguise as some have said? I don't think it is good news to lose a player of such experience, even if he has had injury problems.

    Who do you think should come in? I believe Ledley King should step in.

    Let me know your thoughts on Ferdinand and any other pressing England issues you want to discuss.

  • Comment number 53.

    Shocking comment THFC1882

    "does he knee swell up" - his knee
    "its" - it´s
    "lets" - let´s
    pot - kettle - black

  • Comment number 54.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 55.

    Sad for Rio. Blessing in disguise for England.
    Ferdinand like his replacement as Captain, Gerrard, seem to have been picked on their form from the season before last as opposed to last season.
    If we are going to do well in this competition then we need a strong central defence and the way Rio has been playing recently we will be stronger without him.

  • Comment number 56.

    Phil, this post is so dark it makes Morrissey sound like Black Lace. Of course injuries are disappointing, but they happen and you just have to make do with what you've got and get on with it. It happens week in week out at every club. If we're going to be so gloomy about this we might as well pack our bags now and get on the next plane home. Sorry Michael Dawson.

    Whoever it is that fills the gap has a head and 2 legs and the chance to make a name for himself. In 1986 and 1990 England played better without Bryan Robson, and the Irish players stepped up to the plate in 2002 after Keane had his tantrum. And I'm not convinced Rio wasn't struggling anyway.

  • Comment number 57.

    I was actually a bit unconvinced that Rio was in the 23 in the first place, let alone captain, because I simply didn't think he had enough fitness and form.

    This could be a blessing in disguise.

  • Comment number 58.

    Serious blow - you must be joking, this is a blessing in disguise. Ferdinand has looked well below par for a long time now. We have cover for this position in spades. I feel a lot better about our chances now. Sorry, but IMHO Ferdinand is well past his sell by date. I think Carra, King or Dawson will do just as good a job if not better. Can Heskey go in for a tackle with Carrick tomorrow?

  • Comment number 59.

    Ferdinand on his day is probably the best defender England have at there disposal, quick, strong and can come out of defence with the ball. As Ferdinand is now out of the WC, I'd personally like to see King play alongside Terry, so long as they can keep him fit enough, don't carragher starting or upson.

    He is another CB that share similarities to Ferdinand, King has had a better season than Rio.

    http://www.thekasuals.co.uk/#/holloways-army/4541379753

  • Comment number 60.

    England's defensive woes began from the moment Capello failed to include a cover-up for Glen Johnson, leaving out Wes Brown and other right backs. Now Rio's realistic replacement in King is even more worrying.. God help England.

  • Comment number 61.

    i wish a every country can present their strongest squad, however injury is robbing many.i had always believed that Gerrard should have been England captain from day one.

  • Comment number 62.

    Best thing to happen to England - Rio is overrated, lost a yard of pace and doesn't the game as well as he used to 2 seasons ago. He might have a dodgy knee, but I reckon Ledley 'the King' is the best centreback in England at the moment. At least he'll get some game-time and Stevie-G gets the armband he should've got in the first place..

  • Comment number 63.

    When will england learn, at a world cup your pick a squad which is fit no matter how good the player.

    I'd suggest that one heavy tackle on Barry, which if I an USA, Algeria player etc, will be the end of his tournament and we are unable to relace him.

    Also the disruption to the team just adds to the issue. I thought Capello was very clear in his mind about this. Yet the closer it got to deadline, the more he just did what all England managers do, gamble on unfit stars. And why because outside of 1st XI the depth of talent is shallow at best.

  • Comment number 64.

    so, er, dawson and king at the back? please? you can't have terry and king, both too unfit and slow, you can't give it to carra cos imho he's had a mare this season and shouldn't even be on that plane ahead of dawson anyway, and matty upson? well he'ss good, but dawson and king have been immense together, so use their familiarity fabio... do it!

  • Comment number 65.

    Ledley King is more than able to deputise for Ferdinand. In my eyes, he's a better defender anyway although this suggestion is ignored by the sheep-following media as he is doesn't play for one of the previously established 'Big Four'. If England manage his training well, I don't see any reason why we can't be one of the star defenders at the World Cup.

  • Comment number 66.

    Blessing in disguise has looked slow and out of sorts and in partnership with Terry would have been exposed by by pacey players we now have the opportunity of having someone with pace to cover Terry as Ferdinand had done in the past.

  • Comment number 67.

    Ferdinand has not been in the greatest form this season, so it's a blow but not as much as it might have been.

    I don't think King is the natural replacement - Terry is a very solid defender, but lacks pace, which is also King's problem. His lack of pace and mobility was badly exposed against Mexico - and a better team would surely have punished him more than just the one goal he gave away. Two slow defenders and the likes of Argentina and Spain would be licking their lips at the prospect of drawing England.

    Personally, I'd go with Dawson from the off. Even with an inexperienced central defensive unit, if we can't qualify from that group then we wouldn't have won the world cup even if we had Beckenbauer in there. Give Dawson/Terry three games together and they might be ready as a partnership to take on the bigger guns in the later rounds.

  • Comment number 68.

    Am I the only one who does really think that the captaincy matters? Hopefully it might improve Gerrard's game on a personal level but as others have said there are enough leaders on the pitch that will do a job whoever is captain.

    Also as some people have already said the England defense now could lack pace if Ledley King is unavailable. If Barry was out for a game as well as King it would be interesting to see how Fabio would protect a relatively slow centre back pairing. Does this spell the end of the idea of King as a defensive mid if circumstances demanded it as he would be needed at the back. Raises the point again that the most missed English Manchester United player could be Owen Hargreaves.

    http://engfootyabroad.com/ - English Footballers Abroad

  • Comment number 69.

    Even as an Arsenal fan, I admire Rio; he is a class act. But why should England be terrified all of a sudden? After all, you still have brave brave John Terry and Jamie 'I only make last minute tackles' Carragher.Not to mention the widely-proclaimed 'Best centre half in England if he stays fit' Ledley King. England have no great reason to worry unless Capello gets another one of his brainwaves and plays Upson in defence and Green in goal.Dont get me started on those 2.

  • Comment number 70.

    The wisdom of taking injured players to the wc is flawed - unless you're a nation with very few good players, it makes no sense.

    It was (mis)fortunate that Rio is injured now, and not after the start of the wc so that a replacement can be flown in. Who will go next? Barry? Heskey? J.Cole? All of them have been rather injury-prone all season.

    I'm still upset that Capello went against his words and selected some players based on reputation (or likely to perform) rather that who were in-form.

    If we lose those aforementioned players quickly after the wc starts and we have no cover then Capello is to blame and he cannot say they were unlucky.

    COME ON ENGLAND!

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    The kind of players England will face mean that people like JC will be out of their depth. LK should replace Rio with MD as cover. A mistake not taking Brown, he can cover RB & CB.

  • Comment number 73.

    ...and the country exhales with relief because it wasn't Rooney.

  • Comment number 74.

    Another negative blog from Phil McNulty, Im fed up of reading them.

    Im sorry but Ferdinand can no longer be classed as 'one of the worlds premier defenders' as McNulty claims. This is not a massive loss for England. On his day King is one of the best defenders around and certainly now outclasses Ferdinand. Dawson has been one of the best defenders in the Premier League this season and Carragher has the experience and nouse to be successful in the World Cup. For these reasons I disagree England are exposed.

    So come on, lets get behind England! That includes the media and bloggers as well!

  • Comment number 75.

    As much as Rio will be missed I had a brief moment of hope that Capello would be able to correct his mistake in leaving Walcott behind, but it transpires he is going to stick with an excess of mediocre centre-backs. Shame all round - but for Dawson's sake I hope he at least gets a game otherwise this late call-up is just adding insult to injury.

  • Comment number 76.

    It's a real shame for Rio Ferdinand, but I'm pleased that this has happened so early into the team's preparations; Michael Dawson is the right choice to be flown in for cover, but my first choice to replace him in a starting eleven would be Jamie Carragher.

    He's proven over the years that he has the game to be able to slot in fairly easily, so I should expect to see him alongside John Terry next weekend against the USA.

    Exciting already isn't it!

  • Comment number 77.

    I thought he'd at least last until the group stages:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/606/A69193641

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    I agree with the majority, it's a blessing in disguise.
    his 'experience' at playing Brazil, Holland, Spain and all the other real contenders? That would be what, once every two years? It's nonsense.

    I feel sorry for the lad, but it makes our chances better, not worse.

    ... that's if Capello has the guts to actually play Michael Dawson

  • Comment number 80.

    Hysteria in the media again today!

    Are the rest of them really so bad that one man can win the world cup? Get a grip!

    A B E

  • Comment number 81.

    This sounds bad for England. By the way who is Rio Ferdinand?

  • Comment number 82.

    It's clearly a 'blessing' in that we are still at the replacement call up stage. General opinion is that Rio was best man for the job but that was surely based on past performances. The fact is that Ledley has just had 3 blinding games against top quality opposition in the Premiership and then scored for his country. Both King and Dawson are on top form and at this time likely to do a better job than the unlucky Ferdinand.

    As a Spurs supporter even I am shocked to see 5 Tottenham men in England shirts but their performance this season for the most improved Premiership club are the reason why.
    Come on everyone get positive! Who knows we may even see the birth of the next great crisp salesman - Peter 'Pringles' Crouch.

  • Comment number 83.

    Personal blow for Ferdinand indeed, but not a setback for England by any means. Ferdinand has been poor, by past standards, this season, when available to play, whilst Dawson has been consistently good. However, Capello will likely keep Dawson on the bench unless absolutely forced to play him, just to prove a point.
    I would also revert Terry back to the captaincy - he seems to thrive on this additional responsibility. Just keep him away from the WAGS!

  • Comment number 84.

    Losing Ferdinand is not a problem, we can manage without an injury-prone defender who's long past his best.

  • Comment number 85.

    "A Huge Blow"....yeah, not so much. He hasn't been fit for months, and hasn't played well for longer. I am a little surprised that Capello didn't already have Dawson the squad, given that both Ferdinand and King are in it. King won't stay fit long enough to warrant the expense of having his name stenciled on the back of a shirt.
    Luckily John Terry and Jamie Carragher who have appeared in 3 CL finals between them, (Jamie has a winners medal) and won the PL three times (this is where John gets the edge!) will be more than adequate to get us to the semis. After that it doesn't matter if its Ferdinand or Carragher, Kaka, Torres and Messi will have them both for breakfast.

  • Comment number 86.

    well done Mcnulty.

    another kneejerk reaction.
    how appalling

    we have more than adequate cover in defence and this eliminates a defender who had a poor season and has his best years behind him. it also removes the captains armband from his overly rested body and from someone who isn't even club captain. nothing but a blessing.

    i thought losing Rooney was devastating? how fickle

  • Comment number 87.

    Does this mean that common sense will prevail and JT will be captain again. Probably not, common sense has not been part of England's decisions since Alf Ramsey.

  • Comment number 88.

    Oh Dear here we go again!!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 90.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 91.

    I am sad to say that this latest setback with the England football team is what happens when so much hype is built up before even one match has been played and won. England's chances of winning the World Cup are still far from the bookies' favourite so all we can do is wait and see how the team get on without Rio Ferdinand and hope that no one else gets injured.

  • Comment number 92.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 93.

    "Carragher can cover all bases at the back, while Capello will know King is a class act when fit - although his display against Mexico was, to put it kindly, laboured."

    Not quite sure what you meant by the above statement. King got caught out twice in the Mexico game that any world class defender past or present would have. You should know football is game where each side will get at least half a chance in a game. Also if King was so laboured how did he manage to score one of the 3 goals that flattered an otherwise mediocre England performance. Yes King's knee is a worry but he is worth the risk. If King gets injured England are in serious trouble. Terry is average at best and the other centre halves you fear for what world class strikers at the world cup will do to them. Even Rooney has not looked sharp. He looks like even despite the rest from the last few EPL games he did not score or looked like scoring against Japan and Mexico.

    Anyway it's good Rio Ferdinand is out at least no one can blame him for England's inevitable demise in a couple of weeks time.

  • Comment number 94.

    I've never been that impressed with Ferdinand's partnership with Terry - replacing him with Carragher or King, who are both world-class talent, does not strike me as a particularly damning blow.

  • Comment number 95.

    91. Alfred Penderel Bright wrote:
    I am sad to say that this latest setback with the England football team is what happens when so much hype is built up before even one match has been played and won. England's chances of winning the World Cup are still far from the bookies' favourite so all we can do is wait and see how the team get on without Rio Ferdinand and hope that no one else gets injured.
    _____________________________________________________________

    So Ferdinand's injury is due to media hype? Ot is it just hype before victory?

    What are you actually trying to say, fella?

    Talk about a nothing post....

  • Comment number 96.

    This isn't the worst thing that could have happened. Rio is class but has not looked himself in his few appearances this season and there is little reason to believe he would have been fully fit and on top form during the World Cup. England has great cover in this position. Frankly a slowed Ferdinand and never pacey Terry would have spelled an early exit for us when facing quality opposition in the later stages.
    It means Steven Gerrard is now captain of England. That really will terrify everybody who plays us. Secondly we get to replace Ferdinand who seemed likely to get injured at some point and clearly was never fully fit in the first place.

  • Comment number 97.

    To be honest I dont know why Heskey is doing any training, with the other players.He is only in the team as a "linebacker".Why cant they just give him one of those things the American footballers charge into and leave the "soccer players" do do the actual intricate stuff with a ball!Heskey is incapable of hitting a barn door with a football.

  • Comment number 98.

    Sorry guys but he was useless anyway, i dont think he will be missed one little bit. This si going to sound unpatriotic but i reckon as far as the quarter finals, we were absolutely dire against Japan

  • Comment number 99.

    A little reality wouldnt go amiss on this blog.Ferdinand has been playing with all the speed of 'an asthmatic ant with heavy shopping' so why will England miss such lethagy in defence.He has been outpaced and outplayed consistantly throughout the past year so him not being thing can only benefit the backline (so long as that other astmatic ant Ledley King is not brought in).Dawson adn Upson are both better tackles and speedier backtrackers so we should celebrate this great though sad moment not lament it.

  • Comment number 100.

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