BBC BLOGS - Phil McNulty
« Previous | Main | Next »

Ferdinand lucky to regain captaincy

Post categories:

Phil McNulty | 15:09 UK time, Monday, 11 October 2010


Rio Ferdinand's sole contribution to England's Euro 2012 qualifying campaign to date was a tweet in support of embattled Wayne Rooney after the striker scored to set the platform for victory in Switzerland.

Ferdinand will be using more conventional means of communication with his Manchester United team-mate after being restored to central defence - and the England captaincy - by Fabio Capello for the meeting with Group G dark horses Montenegro.

There was surely an element of relief for Ferdinand as he took the stage at Wembley on Monday, as both possibilities looked in jeopardy until fate took a hand.

Injuries to Phil Jagielka and John Terry cleared his path back into the starting line-up, while Capello's strict captaincy line of succession ensured he regained the armband automatically from Liverpool's Steven Gerrard.

Ferdinand's experience and quality make his recall to the team an obvious and understandable choice - but Capello's decision to instantly recall him as captain does not sit quite so comfortably.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

The usual arguments about the relevance of captaincy at international level persist - and coach Capello seems unimpressed and singularly unmoved by the fuss over who wears the armband for England.

Many regard the England skipper as merely the man who leads the ceremonials and exchanges pennants - an insult to men like Bobby Moore, Bryan Robson, Terry Butcher and David Beckham, who set such store by the status.

And yet it does matter. Gerrard has shown it matters by the impressive manner in which he has helped marshall the very early stages of England's rehabilitation on and off the pitch since the South African World Cup campaign descended into chaos.

It was Gerrard who rescued England by scoring twice as they came from behind to win the friendly against Hungary at Wembley in August. Yes, it was only a friendly but a crucial one for Capello and England because defeat, with a storm of criticism still hanging over them after South Africa, was close to unthinkable for coach and team.

Gerrard has been one of England's outstanding performers in subsequent victories over Bulgaria and Switzerland, looking comfortable in a settled central midfield role and making a nonsense of fears, some of which appeared to be harboured by Capello himself, that he was too timid a personality and uncomfortable with the cares of captaincy.

He was also one of England's better performers amid the South African wreckage and was an eloquent spokesman in defence of Capello post-World Cup. He also showed an understanding of the personal problems enveloping Rooney before the win in Basle.

Gerrard also provides Capello with stability. Ferdinand, since succeeding sacked John Terry as England captain, has figured in only two out of 10 games and will be making his first competitive outing for his country since the World Cup qualifying win against Belarus a year ago.

Ferdinand is 32 next month and no less an authority than Alan Hansen pointed out that his dismal record of playing in only 44 out of Manchester United's 105 games since February 2008 would be a cause for concern for a player of 25, let alone one approaching the twilight of a glittering career.

While not subscribing to the theory that Ferdinand might be better giving up on England altogether, surely his dubious reliability in terms of fitness means he should now focus on ensuring he is a simply member of the rank and file rather than leading them?

This is nothing personal against Ferdinand, who remains a fine player when fit and was desperately unlucky to be ruled out of the World Cup with a serious knee injury sustained before the end of England's first training session in Rustenburg. He is also a highly popular and respected member of the squad.

And this is not to say he is a bad captain. Gerrard has simply demonstrated he is a superior one. Inspirational on the field and one who has grown into the role off it.

Gerrard is a better long-term bet for what is an important and prestigious post, no matter what the cynics say - and his efforts in the job since England began their Euro 2012 qualifiers made an eloquent case for the 30-year-old to keep the armband.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

Capello, as ever, brooked no argument when asked about his reinstatement of Ferdinand. "I spoke to Steven Gerrard on Sunday evening to explain why Rio was captain against Montenegro," he said. "He understands everything. He knows the rules."

The Italian's law states that he who is captain stays as captain. Which means that no matter how well Gerrard has performed, not just as a player but as a spokesman for the team and unifying force for a squad under some reconstruction, Ferdinand was always going to get the job back.

As an avowed supporter of Capello, it should be stated that he has got most of his big calls right since the World Cup - but it might be worth invoking what we could call "The Sir Alex Ferguson Clause" here.

Ferguson appears yet to be convinced that he will be able to call upon Ferdinand on a regular basis. The Scot has taken the Manchester United captaincy from Ferdinand and handed the accolade to Nemanja Vidic, explaining: "We want the captain to be a player who's consistently available for us all of the time."

If it is good enough for Ferguson, then maybe this was worth consideration by Capello.

Capello has rules, and rightly so, but do they stay in place forever? Gerrard's leadership of England since the World Cup should have made Capello bend those rules.

Gerrard will return to his role as midfield inspiration with good grace - and, as Ferdinand rightly says, the more natural leaders England have at their disposal the better.

There are some leaders, though, who are more natural than others and, after observing him at close quarters throughout the World Cup and in the subsequent months as England try to rebuild a broken reputation, I believe Gerrard had done enough to leap up Capello's self-imposed and rigid pecking order to take the captaincy permanently.

You can follow me at and join me on Facebook.


Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    With respect, you cannot possibly know what goes on inside the camp.

    Who has the most respect of the players, who is the most unifying force amongst the disparate cliques etc.

    Only insiders know that and we have to assume that is the reason Ferdinand has got the vote after what appeared to be an excellent job by Gerrard.

  • Comment number 2.

    100% agree with this blog. Gerrard should have been given the job permanently. I personally think its disgraceful Ferdinand has got the armband back, and is licky to have even got his place back in the team.

  • Comment number 3.

    2. At 6:48pm on 11 Oct 2010, you wrote:
    100% agree with this blog. Gerrard should have been given the job permanently. I personally think its disgraceful Ferdinand has got the armband back, and is licky* to have even got his place back in the team.
    *lucky, I meant hahahaha

  • Comment number 4.

    Spot on Phil. I support the thrust of your argument, that Rio and Stevie G is a choice between good and better. I also feel that in future the English captaincy should be demystified. While acknowledging the idiosyncracies within the English culture, it ought to go to the eldest squad member or keeper as is done in Italy or Spain. The hullabaloo surrounding this position is ultimately destructive to the team.

    England has other areas she can focus on, including youth development and inculcating a national winning mentality. The Three Lions consistently put up one of the stronger squad in any tournament they make, but are let down by such shenanigans and red herrings.

    I would not go as far as suggesting Rio should do a Hansen, opt for one of club or country. That remains his choice and as long as he's needed it's alright. Once more, I would retain Gerrard as the captain and let any other heir apparent fight for the armband. The pros and cons are well explored in this piece.

  • Comment number 5.

    Nothing against ferdinand, because he hasnt done a lot wrong to get the captaincy taken off him, having said that i think the sensible thing would have been to leave it with gerrard, for one reason and one reason only, ferdidnands injury record over the last few years, its obvious hes not going to the euros in 2 years and he has bearly played any football so it seems a strange one to me that he would get the captaincy back, as i said though if he stays fit why not? Im not saying stevie hasnt been a good captain, he has but if gerrard was injured and ferdinand had it us liverpool fans would want gerrard given it straight back so it has to work the other way aswell im afraid. And lets be honest, until the tournament comes around, does anybody really care?

  • Comment number 6.

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

  • Comment number 7.

    he is lucky to be in the squad never mind the team or captain. Still with Capello we expect nothing less than short-term idiocy.

  • Comment number 8.

    Capello is a fool. Only a fool would pick Ferdinand over Gerrard. I'd b quite happy to see the back of Mr. Capello. His subborness and arrogance is what costs England, and he is being subborn now. He never likes to be proven wrong, and when he was proved wrong about Gerrard, he wants to quieten Gerrard down again, so he can still have a reputation as a 'tactical genuis' and not an 'arrogant, subborn and foolish man'.

  • Comment number 9.

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

  • Comment number 10.

    Agree totally. Gerrard has shown his dedication and leadership skills. Capello should go back to what made him successful pre South Africa... the no-nonsense, tough, no emotional garbage stuff and kept Gerrard on as captain. If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

  • Comment number 11.

    you heard what fabio said. theres one captian and one vice captian, when the captian comes back, the armband should go on him

  • Comment number 12.

    Capello should have made Gerrard permanent captain after the World Cup. He was captain at the world cup, is a top performer and one of the first names on the team sheet. During a terrible world cup he was one of our better players.

    Ferdinand is a class defender, but injuries should have stopped him from holding onto the armband because he can no longer be relied upon to play most games.

    Another error from Capello.

  • Comment number 13.

    A completely spineless decision from Capello, who is long becoming very tiresome as manager.

    Firstly, he makes the mistake of appointing Ferdinand as captain in the first place, even though he has less captaincy experience than Gerrard. And now, even after Gerrard has demonstrated excellence through leadership and performances all the while England are improving their displays in the absence of Ferdinand, Gerrard has been completely betrayed by his manager. This meant so much to Gerrard.

    Gerrard should have been captain because he's been captain of Liverpool for 7 years, and has captained England about 10-15 times in his career, compared to Rio Ferdinand's 2 games, if I'm not mistaken. Aside from the unrelated fact that Ferdinand is extremely dislikeable.

    Very disappointing.

  • Comment number 14.

    Phil, this is very simple. Let's do a simple experiment to justify this.

    You are the Chief Football Writer for the BBC. Let's assume that you are ill ( God forbid ) and someone else at the BBC is temporarily appointed as the "acting" chief football writer; and the person spurs blogs like Phil; and, after some time, Phil then recovers from his illness and he's reinstated as the Chief Football Writer of BBC; and all of a sudden some caterwaulers start spouting controversies over the reinstatement of Phil McNulty??? How would you take that??? I want your honest response.

    Secondly, how has Rio faired as the Captain??? How many times has he captained England??? What are the statistics of success??? How can you then calibrate or juxtapose his performance as the captain vis-a-vis Gerrard when there's virtually no basis for such???

    Then finally, what about the pedigree of both of them as the captains of their respective clubs??? What is the ratio of the success of the teams ( Manchester United and Liverpool ) when captained by Rio and Gerrard

  • Comment number 15.

    #8 - Capello is a fool. Only a fool would pick Ferdinand over Gerrard. I'd b quite happy to see the back of Mr. Capello. His subborness and arrogance is what costs England, and he is being subborn now. He never likes to be proven wrong, and when he was proved wrong about Gerrard, he wants to quieten Gerrard down again, so he can still have a reputation as a 'tactical genuis' and not an 'arrogant, subborn and foolish man'.


    Ferdinand was chosen as the official England Captain, and has done nothing technically "wrong" to be stripped of it. You might point to his injury record but I recall a certain Bryan Robson keeping the captaincy for a long time despite regularly missing or pulling out early of major tournaments due to injury.

    Personally, I would have made Gerrard captain in the first place, but having chosen Ferdinand I hardly think that Capello should change it. I'm more concerned that Gerrard doesnt also get pushed back out onto the left wing, but the emergence of people like Adam Johnson should mean that isnt an issue.

  • Comment number 16.

    Now don't get me wrong, Ferdinand is a great center back, and has been for years. However I think it is wrong for Capello to hand the armband straight back to Rio on his first international since June - it belittles the osition of Captain of your country's national team. Gerrard has been very good for England as a leader - a quieter man perhaps than Ferdinand (although who are we to say what goes on in the dressing room?), but a leader by example. Also, I would say that as good a player as Rio Ferdinand is, it is doubtful that he will play a major role in the next WC, and unless he can retain fitness he may well not feature heavily in the coming Euros. Gerrard however is (barring injury or major public scandal) a strong likelihood for a place in the starting 11 at the Euro competition, and is more likely to have a place in the team come the WC than Ferdinand.

    Basically (and although I know my opinion counts for little in the grand scheme of things) Gerrard should have kept the armband, end of.

  • Comment number 17.

    If you are captain and your manager passes you fit end of story.
    thank you vice captain but i will have that armband back now.
    I just wish terry could act more responsible when he is not playing footy
    because otherwise he would be my choice.

  • Comment number 18.

    Whilst I do not necessarily disagree with your verdict on Ferdinand, you have been pushng the same Gerard theme for a long while and I remain unconvinced. Yes, he has performed for England, although just as frequently he has not, and the recent performances you site were against 'lesser' nations. However when the chips were really down against Germany he was woeful - remember those 2-3 glory shots straight after half time? And despite the fact that he was probably amongst the slightly better performers in South Africa, he was certainly unable to inspire the team with his leadership. He had his chance to prove himself as the leader in the World Cup and IMO failed.

  • Comment number 19.

    Fabio obvioulsy has his little favorites within the England camp and that seems to factor more in his selections than fitness or performance.
    Why the hell would he beg Emile Heskey to come back (Before you argue in favor of his experience he has been truly awful for England of late)?
    The return of Rio is another case-in-point.He obviously has a good rapport with the grumpy Italian and that's important.Stevie G did a fine job in Rio's absence and should retain the role until circumstances or performance dictate otherwise.Fabio knows best remember; it's all about him.

  • Comment number 20.

    Another thing in Gerrard's favour is the fact that he is the most experienced player in the England squad with 87 caps and will be for years to come. He also has an impressive goal scoring record with 19 goals and not of them a penalty, while unsurprisingly, Gerrard's win percentage as an England player is the best out of the top 70 most capped players of all time! That is some record, and surely not a coincidence. He's very reliable for England, and would have made a superb full time captain.

    Shame on Capello for this horror decision, and blase attitdue towards it.

  • Comment number 21.

    Phil, totally agree with your observations. To me Ferdinand as lost what was his biggest asset "pace", Bellamy made him look stationary last year.

  • Comment number 22.

    Nothing wrong with Ferdinand, as a player or a Captain, other than his history of injury over the past 2 years or so.

    Gerrard has done a great job, and must be commended.

    Although I am a Man United fan, I would have been inclined to leave the captaincy with Gerrard. He is less likely to be out injured, is a great captain in leaing by example, and more likely to be playing at the Euros.

    However, we do not know what goes on in the dressing room, which player has the most respect from the others, and which is the better leader "behind the scenes" as it were.

    The only other concern I have about Gerrard, in general rather than just a captaincy issue, is that if Capello opts to play Lampard with him again once fit, then Gerrards game suffers. From a captaincy perspective, if that happens it puts him under too much pressure, adding to the adverse effect.

  • Comment number 23.

    I've disagreed with most decisions made by Capello but actually, this one makes sense. You can't keep switching the captain, and Gerrard had the chance to drive the team to glory in South Africa - look what happened. I personally think we missed Rio far more than the cynics thought we would.

    If John Terry has a few bad games or is out injured for Chelsea, when he comes back or is available to play and is picked, he is captain. It's the way football is - and those who think Gerrard, who I agree has played very well in qualifiers so far, should be made captain on this basis are foolhardy at least.

    Like your work, Phil, but way off the mark on this front, I'm afraid. I'm a United season-ticket holder and not too afraid to say I disagreed with Vida being made captain for the season - I think this might have been a show of commitment to the big Serb after a number of advances from foreign suitors.

  • Comment number 24.

    Hang on a minute, this is a man who can't even rally the troops as captain at his club team, so why is it that when he's gained the captaincy for a few comfortable qualifying matches (barring the 2008 campaign, breezing through them like we usually do when everyone's hero JT was the captain) he's suddenly the obvious choice?

    Simply put, it shouldn't matter what the off field turmoil is at Liverpool - under his captaincy, which is much more important at club level, the fact remains that they should be doing better with the quality of players they have over the last two years. OK, they've lost Mascherano and Alonso, but with a team including Reina, Gerrard and Torres to me should be comfortably challenging the Champions League places.

    That and Gerrard flirting with Chelsea a couple of times over the past decade, I don't see the rallying behind him as some empowering leader in any way justified.

    Now Ferdinand isn't a saint, but he easily slots back into central defence and isn't the type to withdraw from the squad with every niggle such as Terry. Furthermore he's much more experienced than Gerrard at winning trophies.

    The fact also remains it is impossible to judge who provides the most vocal/moral support in the England camp. Ferdinand was made captain over Gerrard for a reason, and for the captaincy to be changing hands so constantly devalues the role, obviously dampens the morale of specific players. Capello is not being weak here, it was the only thing he could do to give an ounce of respectability to the captaincy.

  • Comment number 25.

    And Ferdinand isn't even in England's top 2 best centre backs these days as well.

    Utterly mental.

  • Comment number 26.

    Amazing to think that, after so many years of failure, we are still talking about the likes of Ferdinand, Gerrard, Lampard, Terry and so on as England players.

    Where it counts, when it counts, these players do NOT cut the mustard.

    Drop 'em all.

    Build anew with fresh talent!

  • Comment number 27.

    Maybe the question should have been why shouldn't Cappelo give the armband to Ferdinand? I dont see any reasons, you mention Gerrard being a leader? well he didn't lead very well in South Africa. The games England have played since the World Cup have been against nobodies ok no games are easy at this level but most people here could have picked four different England teams to beat the sides they have played. I have always believed Ferdinand was overrated but he is a good player and the difference in Uniteds defence could be seen against Valencia were his calmness and reading of the game shone through allowing United to gain a victory. Gerrard claim to be skipper seems to be based on two goals against a poor Hungarian side with nothing at stake and two solid but far from great performances in the qualifiers. It could be argued after the constant failing in tournaments that Gerrard and Lampard as well as Ferdinand are lucky to still be part of the setup. Gerrards club are hardly setting the world alight and neither have England. If you ever write a blog without mentioning Liverpool or something that does not involve them i will be amazed, patting Liverpool on the back seems to be your favourite hobby you were the same when you wrote for the Echo even if your piece was about Everton. Maybe the blog should be about capello sticking with players who have failed time and time again or the possible emergence of Wiltshire or even the barmy inclusion of the spring chicken Davies for plan z as being England we have to have a big strong centre fireworks dont we?

  • Comment number 28.

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

  • Comment number 29.

    So let me get this straight: Karl Henry wears cloven boots, but Steven Gerrard should captain England. Brilliant stuff.

  • Comment number 30.

    There's a certain nastiness to the utter tripe that the media are writing about this non-event of an fact the way the media are treating Ferdinand is bordering on bullying.

    Captain gets injured..Captain retains armband on return..what a SHOCKER!!

    I mean I really have to stop myself banging my head against the wall when I hear that Ferdinand's place is not guaranteed..yeah I mean why would we want a world class defender playing for England when we could have the utter mediocrity of Jagielka, Cahill, Upson or Lescott playing for us...who do they play for again? Who does Ferdinand play for again? Thought so. I'll go out on a limb here (itoungue firmly placed in cheek) and state that none of the aforementioned players will ever play for United, Chelsea, Barcelona and Madrid.

    Did these Journalists not watch the disaster which was the World Cup? I love how they try to sweep under the carpet that the man at the helm during those vile days in June was Gerrard and yet if Ferdinand had been captain i doubt they would be so generous.

    In Ferdinand, we have one of a dying breed of classy defenders who can actually read the game and yet the media are trying to get rid of him and replace him with average defenders whose style is more akin to Sunday League.

    Gerrard is a stunning footballer..another of our few brainy world class footballers..and i'm sure he'd make a fine captain but Capello chose Ferdinand and the media would do well to get a life and accept that!

  • Comment number 31.

    Actually Phil I disagree with you on this one, although about a week ago I wouldn't have done.

    I was also thinking until the last few days that Gerrard deserved to keep the captaincy. His performances had never been so inspired and it seemed as if he had developed a new lease of life since Capello had awarded him the armband.

    What I've come to realize the last week or so though is that Gerrard doesn't really mind about not being captain. We worry about it more than him, in fact. His performances in the last few England games haven't been about the armband. They've been about the fact that he's finally been allowed to operate in his favored central midfield role in the absence of Lampard. I also suspect that another factor has been that playing for England allows him to escape the nightmare of Liverpool's current situation. To cap all this, Gerrard has repeatedly said over the last week that he will have no problem with Rio being reinstated and that he will still play a leadership role with or without an official captain's title.

    Now Ferdinand on the other hand WANTS the captaincy. Sure he's said that he'd support Gerrard if the Liverpool man kept the armband but it was hardly said with enthusiasm. He mentioned an "expectation" that he would take back the role from the vice-captain when he was fit again. That Capello had always suggested to him that he was the Three Lions skipper and that Gerrard was fulfilling the role like any vice-captain would in the captain's absence. And yes, fulfilling the role very well like any well-selected vice captain would.

    So although I also felt "a bit sorry" for Gerrard when I realized the captaincy was going back to Rio I now realize I don't need to. He's perfectly happy to hand the armband back to a captain who wants it back. And he'll play with just as much fire as before providing he's allowed to adopt the same central attacking midfield role - which he will be. And Rio will definitely be happy since he's where he wanted to be - in a traditional vocal captaincy role where if needed he can fire up his troops if they have any shaky periods on Tuesday night. And if he's injured again over the next few months? Well, we have a vice-captain. And a very good one at that.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hi Phil I have to say I disagree on this one. Whilst Gerrard has done commendably well whilst being captain I don't agree that he is the inspirational force you make him out to be. Yes, he was one of the better players during the world cup but that was hardly an achievement and again while he has been Liverpool's best player they still find themselves in the relegation zone, a fact that Gerrard doesnt seem to be able to improve upon. Also Ferdinand hasn't even had a chance yet and Capello picked him so why not stay with him?

  • Comment number 33.

    can someone explain to me how a post with no hint of swearing / abuse / racism etc can be classed as breaking house rules. the only thing i did was disagree with McNulty. i now begin to understand the media bias of this so-called chief football writer.

  • Comment number 34.

    My heart sank when Ferdinand was injured before the world cup - it meant that Gerrard was defacto the captain and therefore a permanent starter for England. He rarely offers much in an England shirt (or for Liverpool if he doesn't have someone like Alonso to watch his back/make him look good). I'd use him as an impact sub at most.

  • Comment number 35.

    To Get well soon Antonio Valencia...I heard what Capello said and it is my personal opinion that I do not agree with him on this one. Should there simply be one captain when that one captain's injury record has made him a bit-part player on the international stage? Should he still be captain when an outstanding and consistently available player shows all the qualities to be able to do the job over a long-term period?

    I believe Gerrard has shown he now deserves to be given this job on a permanent basis. As I said - nothing personal against Ferdinand, but Gerrard is the more influential player and has shown his qualities as captain on and off the pitch. This is the basis on which I have formed my opinion.

    I assume from the name on the post that you are a Manchester United fan, although apologies if I am wrong. On the basis of your argument, do you still think Ferdinand should be captain of United rather than Nemanja Vidic? Sir Alex Ferguson clearly doesn't.

  • Comment number 36.

    "Ferdinand lucky to regain captaincy"

    What a load of tosh!

    How does luck come into it?

    Capello made the decision anyone who has ever listend to him talk about the captaincy expected him to make

    Just because you don't agree with it doesn't make it luck!

    And if you don't agree (which you obviously don't) then wasn't the time for stating that when he appointed his first captain and established the "line of succession"? Ah yes, you missed that chance, you were too busy fawning!

    Finally on Gerrard

    If the guy can't motivate himself to give 100% in an England shirt if he's not wearing the captains armband then he should be dropped.

    I'm sorry but nothing less than 100% is good enough, if he can't give it then he shouldn't be picked, which would be handy as for the first time since Scholes retired we may have a midfield pariing who can actually play together!

    The press with their Gerrard love in forgot one vital thing.

    In order for Gerrard to perform, not only did he need the armband, he also needed to have Lampards role in the team altered. And while Gerrard may have played well Lampard didn't, with Lamps and Gerrard in the team we'll always be playing with 10 men.

  • Comment number 37.

    Let me add something. This is another reason why England CAN and WILL NEVER win anything in football is because of people like Phil and all the caterwaulers in British press who always put their noses in what is not their business.

  • Comment number 38.

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

  • Comment number 39.

    "And yet it does matter. Gerrard has shown it matters by the impressive manner in which he has helped marshall the very early stages of England's rehabilitation on and off the pitch since the South African World Cup campaign descended into chaos."

    wait a sec mcnulty - wasn't gerrard the man with the armband DURING the world cup fiasco, the captain of a team poorly-structured and lacking in on-field motivation?!

    but no - gerrard scored twice against the mighty Hungary and is showing his passion now england are winning again. did you read the sun in preparation for writing this mcnulty?

  • Comment number 40.

    Phil - I think Capello is sticking to the rules on this one.
    It is true that Gerrard has filled in well as England Captain when asked to do so and he may well have a claim to make for the job, on a more permanent basis, in the future. Equally however, Ferdinand has done nothing wrong, other than to sustain injuries, which have kept him out of the side.
    Its one thing to remove a Captain for deliberate acts of personal foolishness (which brought lots of unwanted publicity down on the team prior to the WC); however it is another to remove a nominated Captain because of absence via injury.
    If Rio's Captancy starts to come under doubt because of his own or the teams poor performance, then by all means Capello should look again at his choices, but to do so in the present circumstance would be totally unjustified.

  • Comment number 41.

    'Gerrard is the more influential player and has shown his qualities as captain on and off the pitch.' [ philmcnultybbcsport, post 35 ]

    Elbows and two footed tackles on it, court cases off it. Nothing like as bad as that awful Wolves player though, eh? The one you singled out and named in your blog a few days back.

  • Comment number 42.

    Phil you keep mentioning "Gerrard's leadership since the World Cup" but is captaining England to a wins in one friendly and two qualifiers, all against opposition of not exactly world class, really that great an achievement? What precisely has Gerrard done that you believe Ferdinand would not have done, had he been fit?

    And is Gerrard really someone to lead England to a major trophy? He was only marginally better in SA than the dross surrounding him which is not much. Didn't look like he could inspire the team. And who can forget that rainy evening at Wembley when England's hopes of playing at Euro 2008 ended?

    You have a point in that Ferdinand might not be the man to lead England considering his fitness problems. But I really haven't seen much from Gerrard to suggest he's worth all this uninhibited praise. Though I know he's you favourite player Phil and you are unable to write objectively about him.

  • Comment number 43.

    Phil, In response to your comment about the Manchester United club captain, can I ask when David Beckham was ever a club captain?

    I agree that if I had the choice, I would have Gerrard as captain, but the club situation is academic. The manager made his call a year ago and you can't expect him to change his mind at this stage. I am certainly not a Manchester United fan or a Liverpool fan, and I strongly believe the person in possession keeps the job unless he does a JT.

    Also, to the people suggesting that Ferdinand isnt one of the best 2 centre backs available, I would disagree. I know his fitness is suspect but the fact is that if everyone is available, he is in the side. In this instance a number of top quality defenders are out injured. Would you really prefer Lescott and Upson as the partnership?

  • Comment number 44.

    #41 - court cases off the pitch

    And found innocent. Thats a completely irrelevent statement.

  • Comment number 45.

    You have to take into account in your little story, what if Phil had a track record of being ill? Then he might be replaced, but still kept in the setup. Like Rio has been.

  • Comment number 46.

    A lot has been written previously about how Capellp subscribes to the Italian view that the captain doesn't really matter and it should be the player with the most caps. I'm not sure he's following this philosopy though as he did seem to do an 'audition' for Terry, Gerrard and Ferdinand when he took over (and for whatever reason decided Gerrard was lacking).

    However, I think that given a proper run in the job, and real responsibility, Gerrard has done well. Without debating the various merits of Gerrard & Ferdinand I think that the position of captain is something special to England players and it should be someone who is guaranteed to play and lead the team, not someone who (based on recent history) is as just as likely to be injured as not.

    For a manager who supposedly had a policy of only picking players who were playing for their clubs & on form (although changed that for his World Cup squad) it does seem a curious decision.

  • Comment number 47.

    People seem to be conveniently forgetting/glossing over the fact that Gerrard was captain DURING the (appalling) World Cup finals campaign, not just the 3 matches since. His tenure wasn't quite so glittering as McNulty makes out.

  • Comment number 48.

    'And found innocent. Thats a completely irrelevent statement.' [northernsuperspur, post 44]

    Oh yes. Found innocent. In a Liverpool court, I believe.

    It could be worse. If John Terry was playing, Phil might be saying give the armband back to him. How did Milner's leg not get broken back in April? I watch it over and over and can't see how the leg doesn't shatter. Obviously, nothing like as bad as one of Karl's tackles though.

  • Comment number 49.

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

  • Comment number 50.

    jeeez another shocking error by Capello. No way can Ferdinand be trusted to stay fit, Sir Alex can see it the whole country can see but the £6 million dollar man cannot. Is Capello trying to get the FA to sack him ? How else can some of his squad selections be explained and now to top it all he re-appoints Ferdinand as captain.
    Sorry Capello you've lost the plot.


  • Comment number 51.

    The selection of Ferdinand is an absolute disgaceful decision but perhaps with Terry and Jagielka both being ruled out then I suppose it acceptable but and I repeat BUT giving him the armband is an absolute disgrace!
    Reasons being 1. he has hardly played in the last six months. 2. he is a CROC a 32 year old one at that!

  • Comment number 52.

    I don't want to get involved in an argument here about the respective merits of the players, for the captaincy or for inclusion in the squad. After all, as No.1 points out, we really aren't privy to all the intimate details of the England camp. What does bother me is that we have here yet another demonstration of rigid thinking and lack of man-management skills on the part of Capello that have plagued England since the build-up to the World Cup. That said, I can't think of anybody I'd rather have in charge of the England squad at the moment and am, to be quite honest, so fed up with the whole thing that I find myself more concerned about whether my club's players will come back intact from their international adventures. I know it doesn't sound very patriotic, but there is such a thing as saturation point. Maybe I'll manage to work up some enthusiasm when they kick off tomorrow.

  • Comment number 53.

    I disagree completely Phil. Gerrard did as he was supposed to by filling in as captain in Ferdinand's absence. But this is why you have vice-captains in the first place - in the event of injury or suspension to the actual captain. Displacing Ferdinand too for no reason would no doubt disgruntle him - which is no good to anybody.

    I also can't understand this statement either:

    "And this is not to say he is a bad captain. Gerrard has simply demonstrated he is a superior one."

    Why? Because we beat two international minnows under his lead? Are you suggesting we wouldn't have if we had Ferdinand as captain those games? No, the reason you made that staement is because you are Stevie G's number one fan; it's a personal crusade rather than anything logical or substantial. The debate is a non-starter really.

    ...Oh and Phil, let's not forget he presided over the SA debacle just this summer too...

  • Comment number 54.

    Phil - you said "Should he still be captain when an outstanding and consistently available player shows all the qualities to be able to do the job over a long-term period?" I think this is open to debate, as Gerrard's leadership was questioned during the World Cup (interesting that you talk about his leadership post W.C. while ignoring it during the W.C.). Proof of this lies in Terry feeling forced to speak up (which was ill advised), but shows the leadership vacuum at the time. Whether or not Gerrard shows the qualities to do the job is a matter of opinion - Capello, when replacing Terry felt Gerrard was a vice captain , not a captain, and I'm sure he is better placed to make this judgement than you or me.

    As has already been pointed out you are unable to say what Ferdinand did wrong to justify taking the captaincy away. Gerrard has also had spells of injury, so this is no real reason. You say that Gerrard is a superior captain - based on what exactly - his world Cup performance doesn't back up your argument.

  • Comment number 55.

    Once again Phil's (and the BBC's) love of Liverpool clouds the issue. Granted Stevie G has played well in the last couple of games, but my memory serves me too well of all those games for England where he ran around like a headless chicken, or the relentless commentary of "Given away by Gerard." Probably not an issue anyway - Sicknote Rio will get injured and Stevie will get the armband back!

  • Comment number 56.

    Phil, I agree with several other bloggers, your use of the word "lucky" in the title of this page was obviously designed to provoke controversy!

    However that said, I play local football at a reasonable level, and our club captain is a guy called John. In the pub afterwards, you may overhear some guys saying they reckon they are a better player etc. but at the end of the day, we all know John is the leader.

    So can you imagine if he was out for a month, and then he comes back : is there any chance in the world that he doesn't take back the armband? No chance. I've played for a few clubs now and that is always how it works. All the players subscribe to that, that is the end of it. Without that you cease to operate as a team or have any collective spirit.

    What happens at Wembley is just a reflection of what we do in local Saturday County football - but on a bigger scale. Same principles apply.

  • Comment number 57.

    Capello really needs to let go of the old guard - you know, the golden - no wait - the 'failed, overrated' generation and all that.

  • Comment number 58.

    Sack Capello.

  • Comment number 59.

    Also it's worth pointing out that Gerrard at 30 is only 2 years younger than Rio : so neither of them are truly a long term solution...

  • Comment number 60.

    Phil, let's assume you were appointed BBC sport's chief football writer and a few days into your new job, you fell ill and had to be hospitalized. In your absence, a younger associate was asked to temporarily replace you and does your job reasonably well. When you return to work after the illness, would you expect your employer to give you your job back?

  • Comment number 61.

    I'm a Liverpool fan - however as it stands Ferdinand is fit to play so he should be Captain. It doesn't matter if Gerrard is the better Captain or not - the manager chooses that particular role and he chose Ferdinand. I'm just glad Terry won't be playing ;)

  • Comment number 62.

    Fully agree with 57 and 59, why is England still playing will some players who went to the World Cup this summer???

    England is not bringing a lot of youngsters into the squad and just using the same old players like Rio, Terry, and Gerrard and others. They should stop playing for England now and concentrate playing for their clubs. It the right time now to bring fresh youngsters into England and it is not happening

    Capello should have been sack long ago back in July after England's disappointing a shocking world cup and made Stuart Pearce or Roy Hodgson England manager. It does not make any sense to keep Capello still at manager. He only has an excellent record at club level and all that counts as nothing when it comes to international level and it showed at the world cup

  • Comment number 63.

    I don't really think it matters who Captain's England but since Ferdinand is the England Captain then it's right now he's fit and back keeping clean sheets he gets his armband back. Gerrard is a great player but he had a chance to prove his worth as a leader in South Africa and failed miserably, not Captain fantastic but Captain limp.

  • Comment number 64.

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

  • Comment number 65.

    I go back to my original point..the way the media pursued this bordered on the's all very well saying 'nothing personal against Ferdinand' but it smacks a little of that when you see plenty of journalists trying to make this an issue..One journalist wrote that Ferdinand has always given the impression that England 'owes him something'..i mean the game..or can I make something up too?

    Captain injured..replaced by vice-captain who was at the helm during a disastrous WC campaign and during two sound qualification victories in which he performed very well..Captain returns and retains!

    It was an unedifying sight seeing Ferdinand having to justify himself this afternoon.

    You know what though..when i hear clueless football fans say Ferdinand's rubbish and shouldn't be in the squad, part of me wishes he would retire..Terry that these fans could have their wish of a back two of Jagielka and Lescott or Cahill and's enough to make you wince

  • Comment number 66.

    I reckon after the 2012 Euro's, whoever replaces Capello will replace Ferdinand/Gerrard with a younger captain.

  • Comment number 67.

    Steven Gerrard has proved himself to be the most inspirational leader at both club and international level for a very long time. No more to say.

  • Comment number 68.

    To'd use Gerrard as "an impact sub at most" - can't agree for one second with that. Obviously not seen his impact as captain and starting the last three games.

    Sure England had a poor World Cup, but I would hardly pin the blame on Steven Gerrard for the catalogue of flaws that led to that. He was actually one of England's better players, although not a lot of competition I admit.

    I am not suggesting Ferdinand has done anything wrong, but it has worked in his favour that both Jagielka and Terry are not fit, easing his way back into the team. He has been fortunate in that regard.

    Jaglielka's injury actually ensured Capello was able to avoid making a really thorny selection decision. In my opinion Jagielka had played so well he could not possibly have been left out for either Terry or Ferdinand if Capello was basing his team on most recent performances for England.

    And as for the captaincy, Ferdinand has hardly been fit for England since his appointment. Not his fault, but Gerrard has come in and been so accomplished, on and off the pitch, that I believed it was time for continuity and stability and he should get the job.

    Again I'd like to ask Manchester United fans - if Sir Alex Ferguson feels the need to keep Nemanja Vidic as his captain because he knows he will be available on a regular basis, should the same apply to Ferdinand with England? I think there is plenty of sound logic in what Ferguson has done, and perhaps Capello should have thought along similar lines.

    I am sure Ferdinand will prove an adequate captain, providing he stays fit. It is simply my personal opinion that Gerrard has proved he would be better. Always happy to listen and respond to constructive argument, either for or against.

  • Comment number 69.

    I can't agree with you more - what more does Gerrard need to do, either with England or with a Liverpool team that would have been dead years ago without him? I remember thinking Ferdinand was pretty special when he played his first world cup, but that was too long ago. Since then he has been carried by a Man U team that is captained from the technical area, while Gerrard has carried his team - and has finally started to do it with England. The only good thing about all this is the near-certainty that Ferdinand will solve the problem by breaking down again. You might well install Sol Campbell, Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate as your vice-captains...

  • Comment number 70.

    What is wrong with fabio capello? does he not get the message that the lousy lazy team failed on all possible sides in the world cup. They were tired, not inspired, worst of their form etc. Am sure we need a big clean up big time, ring out all the oldies( the supposedly famous, infamous for their infidelities!) cherry pick motivated, aspiring young blood, create a new generation of footballers. It is a herculean task, but can be executed,if he aims for it.

    It is too easy to predict the squad, as there is a real dearth of talent. whoa! I ve just read my comment and that is a very strong outburst from a non english, non football but a mere sports spectator.

  • Comment number 71.

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

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

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

  • Comment number 74.

    ermmm No Offence meant but....................

    This Story has been treading the boards all day LONG! do we have to have pages and pages of comments on a matter that is done to death every year!

    No One! and i mean NO One has really anything NEW to offer on this sad sorry borieng saga about who or who should be captain of england.

    let me be the 1st to pronounce there is really not a single member of that team worthy of wearing the shirt let alone be given such a role. The candiates, hereafetr referred more akin to Suspects are one and all bad apples and set a very very very poor example both on the field of play and in some cases of the field of Play ( no names mentioned of course )

    How anybody can give air time and internet space to such a bunch of misfits is beyond me. I like many other will be gald to see the back of Cappello, hes done nothing of any use since he took charge and will soon be running back to the swiz riveriar with his collection of fine art and wine courtesy of the paying fans and the men in suits at the FA.

    I only hope when he goes, that many that are spoken of as leaders ( cough ) follow him and take thier egos with them. This love fest with celebrity as opposed to substance is getting beyond the joke.

    keep wallowing in false hopes for after you have seen of the minnows, yes Minnows! in these qualifiers just as you did in the WC you will come up well short when the REAL BUISNESS begins no matter who is captain.

    However i cant leave without offering my choice as Vice Captain, that honour has to go to non other than Wayne Rooney he has all the required skills and attributes to do the job perfectly.

    have fun.

  • Comment number 75.

    God knows why but I still can't bring myself to blame Capello - we had a side with the ability to perform better in SA, something went badly wrong (and I'd still like to know what) but this was the guy who steered us through one of our best qualifying rounds ever, making mincemeat of much better sides than we faced in the group stages. I agree with Zengirl that we have to look ahead, if only because we've been piling too much expectation on a limited and rather vulnerable bunch of players for too long, but can we stick with a proven manager for once? Now he's seen what an England side does when it's faced with a major competition I would like to see how he fixes it. We've got one more tournament with him and then we can go back to English-managed mediocrity.

    Oh, and while I'm about it, will somebody please explain to me what was so inept about the consistently quarter-final-reaching Sven? Or am I supposed to hate him because he's foreign too?

  • Comment number 76.

    Steven Gerrard was a very poor captain at the WC and should never captain his country again. Saying that, Rio Ferdinand is very lucky and has got a lot to prove just to be in the starting 11 let alone being the captain. Gareth Barry should be captain - and that would almost certainly rule out any future Gerrard - Lampard combination thats never going to work.

  • Comment number 77.

    Yes, fair point Phil. I did think at the time that it was a bit strange to make Vidic the United captain. Although as CantonasCollar79 pointed out, there may have been other deeper, and more political, factors behind that decision, than just those which you have spotted on the surface.

    But I would draw a little bit of caution before you compare England and United. United I think can hope with a variety of skippers : it doesn't seem to affect the team whether the captain is Neville, Ferdinand, Vidic, Giggs or VDS....whereas even if England had Rocky Balboa as their captain, I'm not sure that would help...

  • Comment number 78.

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

  • Comment number 79.

    Stop the press, Phil McNulty is posting about Steven Gerrard.

    Steven Gerrard shouldn't be captain, after all he's currently overseeing the shambolic performances of his beloved Liverpool FC this season with such leadership and skill. Oh wait, no he's taken to elbowing opposition players that our running rings around him. This is also coming after his shambolic captaincy in SA.

    Phil mentions Rio Ferdinand is fortunate to be captain because of his fitness, well I would argue that Gerrard is fortunate to be in the squad because of his league form this season.

  • Comment number 80.

    There is too much focus these days about "Who is Captain". The fact is there isn't a good Captain in the whole of the England Team. Firstly whoever it is needs to be a leader (ok so a few fall into this category), but this is where it all falls down: Secondly the Captain needs to lead by example, on and OFF the pitch - Rooney, Terry, Lampard, Ferdinand, Cole - no harm lads but I don't want my children following in your footsteps.

  • Comment number 81.

    I should've known better than to disagree with Mr McNulty.

    I will no longer post on his blogs.

  • Comment number 82.

    Phil - please get back on track. Not sure how you can call a 31 year olds career his "twilight" and then a 30 year old ...better long term bet.

    Remid me how SG did during the WC in SA, oh that's right, not so inspirational then.

    If you do want to get a campaign running feel free to ask whether we want Mr Capello out, ASAP, or to ensure the Mr Frank Lampard does not better than being given a place on the bench when he next makes himself available.

  • Comment number 83.

    I have not seen a stand out Captain for England for many years and now is no exception.
    One who leads on and off the pitch and this new generation of players do not have those qualities.
    They all seem happy to take a back seat and collect huge wages!
    That is why we will never win anything because even when the great Bobby Moore was Captain he had at least half a dozen players wishing to be the Captain.
    You hear coaches quoting many times that all players should be captains but we do not see it anymore.

  • Comment number 84.

    I think the discussion over captaincy is irrelevant. If either of these are starters in the next WC campaign then we won't qualify. See ageing Italy 2006 who won unlike England and their reliance on same crop in 2010. Sorry they were miles better than us 4 years ago.
    As long as JT, StevieMe or Rio My Story are involved in the England team then we are doomed anyway. 3/4 managers (5 in Ferdinand's case) and we still look to this lot as our saviours. I will continue to site the binning of 'World Class' players by France in 1993 after Houllier's disastrous campaign and replacements which lead to France being the dominant force in late 90's/early noughties.
    Time to freshen things up and bin these international underperformers - captaincy is over-rated at this level. They should all be leaders in some way.

  • Comment number 85.

    Phil - just read your 10:23pm post ..

    I think the Man U position is different to England. SAF has always had club and team captains, to be honest I am not sure where he is upto at the moment - but you need to be able to name a regular, fit, player as team captain.

    I just think that Rio is a stronger, more respected and unifying captain than SG. I agree that it is inevitable that Rio will not be available for every match and clearly SG will now be the 'go to' for captain.

    Didn't SG miss loads of matches last season with one thing and another? It can happen to any one of these guys.

  • Comment number 86.

    Rio is not a bad captain. Steven is an outstanding captain. But there is little to say Capello should change his decision. It may well be, however, that Ferguson has the better appreciation of Rio's physical condition and we may well see Steven with the armband again quite soon.

  • Comment number 87.

    LOL. Stevie Me lost the captaincy

    good. now he can go back to captaining his club all the way down to the Npower Championship.

  • Comment number 88.

    Moderation confuses me since I am not a 'new member'.

  • Comment number 89.

    "Sure England had a poor World Cup, but I would hardly pin the blame on Steven Gerrard for the catalogue of flaws that led to that. He was actually one of England's better players, although not a lot of competition I admit."

    If you believe the captaincy is so important, shouldn't Gerrard shoulder some of the blame for the poor performers of some of his teammates?

    What happened to the new broom we were promised after the dismal summer failure? We need someone to look more in the long term than Gerrard, Ferdinand and Kevin Davies. But Capello is leaving in 2012, so the 2014 squad doesnt matter.

    Who would you have rather been in 2010? The teams with exciting young players, like Germany and Spain, or those with 'experience', like Italy and France? (Admittedly a flawed comparison, but it's in the right area).

  • Comment number 90.

    To post 14, Re: --------14. At 7:20pm on 11 Oct 2010, ProfessorYLO wrote:
    Phil, this is very simple. Let's do a simple experiment to justify this.

    You are the Chief Football Writer for the BBC. Let's assume that you are ill ( God forbid ) and someone else at the BBC is temporarily appointed as the "acting" chief football writer; and the person spurs blogs like Phil; and, after some time, Phil then recovers from his illness and he's reinstated as the Chief Football Writer of BBC; and all of a sudden some caterwaulers start spouting controversies over the reinstatement of Phil McNulty??? How would you take that??? I want your honest response.-----

    Let's do a simpler experiment: if Phil had been made Chief Writer after only 2 articles, having been Ill countless times, then apart from possibly being sacked, it would be a mindless decision from those in charge anyway!! Had Phil BEEN so unproven and unreliable, then yes, I believe a gutted Phil would probably accept the decision to anoint the more capable and prolifically gifted writer (all hypothetical of course Phil!)

    Secondly, you can't compare the two - one is a vocation of indvidual ability (writing) and the following people have for the individual. England captain is a vocation which is there to galvanise a team on and off the field.

    Again, Manchester Utd are a better team than Liverpool yes, but Gerrard's contribution to Liverpool is most certainly (over many years) more telling than Ferdinad's to Utd. If not, then why had Fergie made Vidic captain over Ferdinand? and by that argument, Puyol would be captain of Spain, instead Casillas has taken Euro and World cups in his mitts for the 'less' successful Madrid (in recent years).

    Again, I totally agree with Phil and many posters - Ferinand IS a great player and a good captain. He most certainly has potential (being untested as yet) to lead England and this is not in debate. The point is that a BETTER and more proven captain has been deposed when many argue that it was not necessary. That's not to say Ferdinand can not do a job, only that 'that' job was already being done well.

    Let's see what happens anyway.

  • Comment number 91.

    #48 Oh yes. Found innocent. In a Liverpool court, I believe.

    And just where would you expect a case involving two Liverpudlians to be held?

    He is innocent, end of story.

  • Comment number 92.

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

  • Comment number 93.

    I actually disagree with Vidic being United captain. In my opinion Ferdinand should of got it a couple of years ago because if anything G.Nev has been even less present than Rio. So Ideally for me Ferdinand should be united captain just for the presence and command he represents in the United back four. However I'm happy just to see how it pans out. Ferdinand is captain now, lets get behind him. I'm sure Gerrard is doing the same thing.

  • Comment number 94.

    Two things in reply to your latest post, Mr McNulty:

    a) if you're really suggesting that there was a selection issue between the world class player of over 10 years, United player, £30 million pound, once courted by the big boys and still would be snapped up if available, trophy-winning Rio Ferdinand and Phil Jagielka of Everton, then England really are in dire straits..the call up of Kevin Davies is just off the map..whst the hell have we become? I'd rather we were utterly useless than this celebration of mediocrity..i mean surely Jagielka would have the good grace to say..look Fabio pick Rio..he's miles better than me

    b) I'm not sure hiding behind Ferguson is a good idea either..there are plenty of United fans who were staggered by that decision..United did really well at the back with Ferdinand out of the side didn't they? God i love Ferguson..i doubt there's another fan more loyal to him but all I will say is O'Shea, Brown, Gibson, Evans to name a few..tripe tripe Ferguson's decision making isn't always the best and given he's allowed United to become a worse side than it was 2 years ago says that it is getting worse

  • Comment number 95.

    agh now come on, im irish , but ye guys look way too much into the captaincy!! seriously its not a big deal, with us i wouldnt care if its robbie or shay, who cares , at the end of the day you want ur lads running out giving 100% after that who cares,, you can talk formation and set ups but ya need the lads to be fired up etc, once they have that and a bit of cunning and skill the rest looks after itself, in fairness

  • Comment number 96.

    i seriously think ye english look way too much in2 who's captain,,,look the captain doesn't dictate the result...its the players on the pitch, i mean from an outsiders point of view ye played o striker in the world cup like heskey with what ....4 goals all year???? and bent had just slightly less than rooney??? and ye played heskey,
    come on in fairness, strikers thrive on confidence and ''capello played heskey'' :!!!!!!

  • Comment number 97.

    In reply to 90

    "That's not to say Ferdinand can not do a job, only that 'that' job was already being done well"

    a) was it being done well..the World Cup would beg to differ? Or do we only count particular games where Gerrard was captain?

    b) let me turn your quote upside down..

    "That's not to say Gerrard can not do a job, only that 'that' job was already being done well..BY FERDINAND!!!"

  • Comment number 98.

    I really do not understand this arguement - I understand gerrard might be pally with the media (or has a good agent). But did anyone actually see the world cup? Gerrard was hopeless, he left the left side totally exposed and mainly ran around like a headless chicken, getting in the way of his team mates and handing the opposition acres of space.

    Personal performance aside - how did the team get on? Did they look like a team with an inspired leader? or did they look rudderless? Is this capello's fault or should the leader on the pitch take some responsibility?

    To those above who said gerrard should have been given the armband permanently. Why? he scored a goal in the first minute of the first game and then was almost constantly out of position. It's all very well saying he's performed well against bulgaria, switzerland or any of the other middle ranking euro teams - but if we are going to show any ambition we've got to look at performances against the teams we need to beat to win the big trophies.

    And finally is rio in decline any more than gerrard? will gerrard be playing at the next world cup either?

    It's a separate question as to whether rio should be in the team, but he's there. Whether he'd be there without the injuries doesn't matter, he was the captain before he was injured and to be frank he is one of the few players who is not tarnished with the ugly world cup brush.

  • Comment number 99.

    I'm not sure where you're coming from, Phil, in this blog, apart from to stir up some sort of Utd v Liverpool controversy (doesn't take much, I know!). I mean, replace the team names with the respective player names Ferdinand and Gerrard and it amounts to the same thing. This is borne out by the number of respondents (Utd fans) supporting Rio against those (Liverpool fans) supporting Stevie G for the captaincy.

    And, as to your statement regarding Rio being 'in luck' due to Terry's and Jagielka's absence, what on earth is that all about? Terry has been stripped of the captaincy, as you well know, and I see little in Capello's demeanour to suggest he is someone who doesn't stick by the decisions he makes, rightly or wrongly. Assuming this, Terry wouldn't be in the running for the captain's armband, whether fit or not. As to Jagielka ... a highly gifted centre back, no doubt, but higher up the pecking order than Rio for captain of club and/or country? Rio's selection seems to me to be hardly the misnomer you make it out to be, while luck simply doesn't come into it. Ferdinand's selection is, rather, more than reasonable, particularly as some managers (like Capello) tend to support leadership from the back (i.e. a defender). Then it's a choice between Johnson, Ferdinand, Upson and A. Cole. As I suggested, the selection pretty much writes itself and is, therefore, not the 'lucky' oddity you make it out to be.

  • Comment number 100.

    There must be a hell of a lot of Liverpool fans on this blog, which i have no doubt. Listen gerrard is a class act and has done well as vice captain, hands up to that but Rio is England captain and Gerrard vice cpt! that is why gerrard got the arm band, because rio was injured, no other reason so i dont understand why everyone is so surprised that Rio has retained it.

    as far as injuries go, Gerrard has been out quite a lot in the not so very far past., especially last season with him and Torres out nearly half the season! Rio is back fit and apart from that egit Heskey landing on his knee in africa, he would have been captain throughout the tourne! think this blog is missing the point, Rio England Captain, Gerrard Vice, dont know why everyone is getting thier trousers in a twist.


Page 1 of 3

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.