Profile: Anton Ferdinand
- 13 July 2012
- From the section London
Anton Ferdinand, 27, developed his passion for playing football on a piece of concrete on Peckham's Friary estate, in south-east London, where he was brought up with older brother Rio, the Manchester United defender.
Encouraged to try new things by his mother, Janice, and father, Julian, Ferdinand used to ride horses and do gymnastics.
But football was always his first love and his talent soon saw him at West Ham's school of excellence in Beckenham, along with Kieran Richardson, the former Manchester United player, who is now at Sunderland.
The central defender went on to make 163 competitive appearances for the Hammers. Having helped West Ham win promotion to the Premier League in 2005 and appearing for the Hammers in the 2006 FA Cup final defeat to Liverpool , he moved to Sunderland for a reported £8m in August 2008.
Ferdinand made 95 appearances for the Black Cats in three years but did not hit the heights that had been expected for his transfer fee.
He joined Queens Park Rangers just after the start of the 2011-12 season for an undisclosed fee on a three-year deal. Ferdinand made 31 league appearances as the club survived on the final day of the season in their return to the top flight.
Away from football, having grown up on a housing estate in south east London, the 27-year-old has developed a passion for helping tackle gang culture.
In 2009 he was invited to 10 Downing Street for what was supposed to be a talk about kicking racism out of football.
"I had a brief chat with Gordon Brown," said Ferdinand in an interview with the Guardian three years ago. "The event was meant to be about kicking racism out of football but I spoke to the prime minister on a more personal level about knife and gun crime.
"He said he would like to have a further meeting with me and some of my friends who do youth work."
On the field, Ferdinand represented England at under-21 level but has yet to play for his country at senior level while Rio has 81 England caps.
The closest he got was back in 2006 when then-England manager Sven Goran Eriksson rang him to say he was in his preliminary 40-man squad for the World Cup in Germany. But he had to undergo a hernia operation two days earlier and was ruled out.
Ferdinand has never been close to the national squad again but will remain be a key player for QPR next season.
Chelsea skipper John Terry was alleged to have made racist comments towards Ferdinand in a league match against Queens Park Rangers on 23 October 2011.
Terry denied the charge and was found not guilty in a trial at Westminster Magistrates' Court in July.