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Ferdinand faces fight for future

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Phil McNulty | 16:52 UK time, Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Rio Ferdinand used his Twitter feed to see the lighter side of his current career difficulties when he suggested he may start training with his young son's school team "if selected".

Sir Alex Ferguson left Ferdinand on the bench for Manchester United's victory against Norwich City on Saturday after a chaotic defensive performance in the Champions League draw against Basel at Old Trafford.

And Ferdinand will be confined to club activities as England's squad takes their plane to Podgorica on Thursday morning en route to their final Euro 2012 qualifier in Montenegro.

So while Ferdinand may innocently make light of his situation, there is no doubt the problem he faces for club and country is no laughing matter.

United striker Danny Welbeck was paraded in front of the media at England's Hertfordshire headquarters on Tuesday and was glowing in his praise for club team-mate Ferdinand, despite the defender's absence from the national squad.

"We all know what capabilities he's got - he's a Rolls-Royce of a defender," Welbeck said. "It's wrong to write him off. We all know the ability he's got."

Welbeck, along with Phil Jones and the absent Tom Cleverley and Chris Smalling, are part of the new Old Trafford generation mapping out England's future up to and beyond Euro 2012.

Ferdinand's England career looks under threat with the emergence of fellow United defenders Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. Photo: Getty

Ferdinand's job now is to make sure he is part of that plan, but there is no doubt he faces a fight to ensure he is a regular for club and country this season and into next summer's showpiece, should England get the point they need in Podgorica on Friday to ensure qualification.

Capello chose to ignore Ferdinand despite the fact that he was back in United's team after injury, albeit unconvincingly against Stoke City and Basel.

And while the Italian is notoriously single-minded, some may even say random, in matters of team selection it is highly unlikely that he failed to note Ferguson's decision to relegate Ferdinand behind Evans and Jones on Saturday, even with the experience of captain Nemanja Vidic still missing.

Frank Lampard is already demonstrating the folly of writing off players who have achieved great things for their club in the past, coming back to form for Chelsea after his exclusion in Bulgaria was greeted with undisguised glee in some quarters.

So the notion of making Ferdinand this month's Lampard is a dangerous occupation. He has done too much to be written off on the basis of this non-selection.

Ferdinand, a hugely popular figure within Capello's squad, has suffered a torrid 18 months with England. He almost set the tone for the calamity in South Africa when he sustained a serious knee injury on the first day of training in Rustenburg, then saw the captaincy handed back to John Terry by Capello in ham-fisted fashion in March.

It appeared Ferdinand's relationship with Capello had dipped after they missed each other and failed to discuss the issue at Old Trafford, but those fences have since been mended.

Now, with his fitness restored, come doubts about his form. Ferdinand looked hesitant and ponderous against Basel - although this could also be attributed to ring rustiness after his previous absence.

A proud wearer of the England shirt, he is as likely as Lampard to go quietly, but as he watches Capello's side in action in Podgorica's City Stadium on Friday, he will be grimly aware he is battling for his international future.

Barring accidents, Terry will lead England if they reach Poland and Ukraine and Jones may yet emerge as the figure Ferdinand will have to get past to prolong his career for club and country.

Gary Cahill is the current central defensive incumbent alongside Terry and likely to start in Montenegro after a steady defensive performance - and a goal - in the 3-0 win in Sofia as well as playing his part in the narrow victory against Wales.

Cahill, however, has been part of a Bolton defence shipping goals at a confidence-sapping rate this season and is another under threat from the emergence of the raw but lavishly-talented Jones.

Jones is the man Ferguson has bought for Manchester United's future. And with a season of development at Old Trafford to come there is a growing sense that he will be ready to take his place for England by the time Euro 2012 starts, if they can confirm their place.

Everton's Phil Jagielka is another player Capello admires, but Jones was used in training sessions alongside Terry in Sofia before he opted for Cahill and the England captain was effusive in his admiration for the 19-year-old's ability and attitude.

Already there is talk that Jones is naturally built to take the England captain's armband further down the line.

United's 3-3 draw against Basel was a chastening experience for Jones as well as Ferdinand, confirmation that he can still be manoeuvred out of position at the highest level and may also need to row back slightly on a wonderful sense of adventure that can occasionally take him into uncharted territory.

Jones may yet feature at right-back in Podgorica with Chris Smalling out, although Capello has options in Kyle Walker and Micah Richards, but the powerful youngster's all-round versatility and obvious leadership qualities only add to his attraction as a player.

So the focus of rejection has switched from Lampard to Ferdinand - and while he may Tweet light-heartedly about his plight he will not move quietly into the shadows if England confirm their place at Euro 2012 on Friday.


Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

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

  • Comment number 2.

    Time to clear out the old guard. Lampard, Gerrard, Terry and Ferdinand have had plenty of opportunities but have failed to achieve success at the highest level. By the next WC they will all be too old.

    England should use the Euros to blood the talented youngsters available and build a team ready for 2014.

  • Comment number 3.

    Not 100% sold on Jones' ability to defend at this moment, great going forward but to say he is a future England captain already is premature. Smalling isnt good enough at all in my opinion but I know I will get shouted down for that.

    Anyway regarding Rio it does look like injuries have caught up with him, I believe flying can even cause problems which doesnt help for international football. He looked well off the pace v Basle & Vidic has probably helped cover up some of his decline.

    Good to see someone not being picked if not playing or in form like it should be.

  • Comment number 4.

    He has not been fit and after the EC game midweek he has shown his form is erratic as the moment, so with that he does not deserve to be picked.

    I wish England managers past, present and fiture would pick form players and not on the name.

    Long may it continue.

  • Comment number 5.

    If Mr Capello had made these decisions earlier in his tenure he may have been more successful when it mattered. Foolishly persisting with reputations (ie Gerard and Lampard having to play together) instead of picking on form sends a message to those players. Look at Lampards response to not being picked for Chelsea.

  • Comment number 6.

    Don't know why Man United's defenders are being bigged up at the moment when they're defense is as leaky as i've ever seen them.

    Just general Manchester bias going around at the moment?

  • Comment number 7.


  • Comment number 8.

    Rio and Lamps were loyal servants to their country but it's hardly Moore and Charlton we're saying goodbye to.

    Definitely for the best.

  • Comment number 9.

    Let Ferdinand go, let Terry go, same for Lampard and Gerrard. They are past their best and there are plenty of up-and-comers who would benefit from the experience in good time for the 2014 World Cup. But of course, Capello has no reason to think about the future. Good work on that score, FA.

  • Comment number 10.

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

  • Comment number 11.

    Every player has to be picked on their performances, and that is why both Ferdinand and Lampard should never play for England again.

    Terry and Gerard still have plenty to give.

    Jones has a future, but he wasn't much cop in the U21's.

  • Comment number 12.

    Even as a Man Utd fan I say Rio's too old. He'll do for another season or two to help with Jones' progress but I can't see him doing much more on the international scene.

    I think Gerrard is passed it too. (Calm down Liverpool fans!!)

  • Comment number 13.

    #6 Everton-DK

    Have to agree our defense has been a bit wobbly of late, more from playing too far up the pitch than the quality of defenders though.

    I think Rio's time must be getting near due to his persistent injury problems if nothing else. For tournament football you need to choose from a squad that will be not injury prone, unfortunately Rio is these days.

    Frankly Jones is doing OK, just needs to be a little more defense minded which if played with Terry should be OK.

    There is already a growing group for the position both Rio and Terry have held for so long. This is positive for the England teams future.

  • Comment number 14.

    So this is the new media target.

    De Gea - Nope didn't get him
    Carroll - Nope didn't get him
    Lampard - Nope didn't get him
    Ferdinand - Oh may be!

  • Comment number 15.

    like no.2 has already said we should blood in the youngsters. im one of a few who still believe someone experienced players still have some to give however virtually all of them will be gone for the 2014 cup and realistically we're not going to win the euros. even though we do have the players to do so, they never seem to perform for england.
    hopefully if we play the youngsters now and continue to until the world, they should be at a high enough level and gelled enough to win the tournament

  • Comment number 16.

    "defense" "they're their there" ? any english speakers out their?

  • Comment number 17.

    Like it or not, Ferdinand still has some juice left. He has lost pace, but by no means has he lost his skills. Yes, he wasn't good against Basel, but that was one match. And of course SAF is gonna try jones and evans and give them some game time against Norwich at home. Defenders have a slightly later expiry date than midfielders and if Lampard can defy people, so can Ferdinand.

    Actually, i am glad Phil wrote this. He questioned De Gea, De Gea puts in fab performances. He questions Lampard, guy goes and gets a hat trick. Which surely means than Ferdinand is gonna be Defender of the year.

    He actually jokes about himself being dropped, and encourages Jones. That alone shows his value, not only to United, but to England. Guy from whose Defensive experience others can gain from. he should be on the plane to the Euros just for that.

  • Comment number 18.


  • Comment number 19.

    Hard to say. I'd want to keep some of the old guard in, maybe Gerrard specifically. If Capello/future England managers do keep these players in the squad, then I do hope they surround them with players that can learn from them. When Wilshere is back, he and Gerrard could maintain a mean midfield.

    I'm disappointed Crouch and Defoe aren't getting a chance with Capello at the reins - their England records are fantastic, especially Peter's.

    Even though I believe players like Hargreaves, Owen and Joe Cole would relish and possibly succeed if they got another call up, I just don't see it happening. I believe Daniel Sturridge deserves a senior call, however.

  • Comment number 20.

    Let me just make it plain that I'm a complete neutral, and would love to see any deserving player get a call up.

  • Comment number 21.

    Of course Rio still has a future with England, as long his form and fitness merits it. He is no different to any other player in this respect. Several top players pushing for the same position is a great thing for England, and starting places should be allotted on merit, not on name. Hopefully the days of the same faces constantly holding a monopoly over places in the England team are numbered.

  • Comment number 22.

    so this is what the english football media has come to is it?

    the BBC's so-called chief sports reporter basing a blog around what a footballer tweeted. get a grip.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think Phil McNulty is a notorious bandwagoner and this article is more of the same.

    The united defence hasnt actally been all that great. Going forward they have been great but not so in defence. Smalling and Jones are what they are which is potential rather than proven class. I havent been overly impressed with them in defence thus and certainly dont see them as international starters to build a team on. Even Norwich last weekend could have put a few past them and that was without Ferdinand to blame.

  • Comment number 24.

    I am right with TJLM. Poor old Crouch, scores goals wherever he goes and has a brilliant record for England and, because he looks a bit gangly, people who have no idea about football (and can't play for toffee themselves) say "he isn't international class", like they know what that is.

  • Comment number 25.


    Are you really surprised ?

    If you would like to reply to this comment please use our twitter pages @bbc606 @bbcfootball, @insertpersonasname here, or one of our contless facebook sites.


    etc etc etc....

    Someone should investigate the BBC because they use the TV licence for advertising private company's anyone ever notice half the presenters flashing ipads about also ? :p

  • Comment number 26.

    Why is this news worth a blog? Ferdinand has been injured for the best part of 18 months and he has not been the player he was for about 2 years. Whilst acknowledging the service he has given both club and country, I doubt he has the pace to keep with demands at the highest level on a consistent basis. But again, anyone who has watched him play over the last few seasons at United will be able to confirm his demise. Write him off at your peril, though, he will still have a role to play for both club and country, maybe a break from duties is what he needs.

  • Comment number 27.

    Great player at his peak, was Rio. Father Time catches up with all of us, and he has Rio by the collar now. I cannot see England needing his services anymore, and Man u will probably let him go when contract expires. It was fun watching you RF.

  • Comment number 28.

    I think it is unwise to write Ferdinand off at the moment. The experience he brings together with Lampard, Gerrard and Terry is invaluable. I think all should be included in England's Euro 2012 squad, not neccesarily in the starting line up but they should all make the squad. Many have taken example of Germany's young squad doing so well in the World Cup but remember they still fell short. We should take example of Italy's 2006 World Cup triumph. Italy had plenty of players over 30 with bags of experience knowing that it was probably their last chance to win a major competition and you could see the determination and committment in their play. It just might be the same for England. Euro 2012 is the last major competition for Terry, Ferdinand, Lampard, Gerrard, Cole and Barry. They know it and they'll be determined come the Euros.

  • Comment number 29.

    Too many distractions as ever, was he really worth an article about? Thought he was better under O'Leary, got away with alot, good players mopping up his mistakes. Bad example all round.

  • Comment number 30.

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

  • Comment number 31.

    Good riddance, he's always been over hyped IMO. Should Steven Taylor of Newcastle have gotten a call up? Been one of the stand out defenders in the Prem and part of the meanest defence in the league

  • Comment number 32.

    haha, yet another United player being carried by his team mates.

  • Comment number 33.

    Ferdinand has a future. Cahill isnt international class.

    England's problems in the big tournaments is they look dis-joined and clueless in midfield. The defence has always stood up.

  • Comment number 34.

    Dont understand why some of you are getting your undies in a twist about this blog.

    Rio has had, and some may argue is STILL having, a very successful career.
    He's won more or less everything club football has to offer. To date, has 81 England caps.

    Having been left out of utds starting line up when fit and available and now being left out by Capello again when fit and available does merit some headline news and maybe a blog on the subject.

    To echo one or two previous comments - he could still be a valuable member of the England squad. He has a wealth of experience. But will only get selected if he get some game time at Utd, and rightly so.

    It's getting the game time at Utd that could be the problem now.
    If Jones and Smalling continue to excel he could be warming the bench for quite a while.

    Pick players on merit and form and not by name, that's what I always say.
    Will never understand why some people say a player shouldnt get picked for a national team because by 2014 he will be 34/35. That's 3 years away!

    What about the here and now?

  • Comment number 35.

    Stephen Taylor ahead of Ferdinand. Goodness me. As for saying he's finished, he gave away something like 1 free kick in six months last season or something ridiculous like that. Amazing how John Terry who has had similar injury and stage of career problems escapes any sort of attention

  • Comment number 36.

    Rio has had an amazing career and is has won the biggest trophies in football. But then in the twilight of his career and plagued by injuries he gets spoken about like this. Its so disrespectful and anyone saying bad comments should really be ashamed of themselves. All football matches now are being played at a much faster pace, and obviously as players age they will find it harder to compete. Rio oer his career has been a great football player, a great role model and a person who has fought racism and helped to build community relations. He suffered a few bad injuries and was one of the few players that really played for England with Pride.

  • Comment number 37.

    Rio Ferdinand has been the bedrock of the defence of a team that has won 5 of the 9 titles since his move to United, and reached 3 out of the last 4 CL finals. Claiming he is/was over-rated is ridiculous.

    United's defensive troubles this season need to be kept in perspective. There were big changes in the summer, there have been a string of injuries which have led to constant changes, and United have the best goal difference in the league.

  • Comment number 38.

    Good riddance, he's always been over hyped IMO. Should Steven Taylor of Newcastle have gotten a call up? Been one of the stand out defenders in the Prem and part of the meanest defence in the league


    Steven Taylor isn't even in the top 10 central defenders in England. Newcastle's defence has looked good this season but look at who they have played. Only one team in the top half so far.

  • Comment number 39.

    Don't know why Man United's defenders are being bigged up at the moment when they're defense is as leaky as i've ever seen them.


    only newcastle have conceded less in the league - Utd haven't even played their strongest defence once yet (de gea, rafael, rio, vidic, evra). They've played the same defence consecutively in just 2 games.

    People are bigging them up as jones and smalling are future england regulars, and the da silvas are future brazil regulars.

    why are they being bigged up? Do you ever watch football? They are future stars. Vidic is probably the best CB in the league, Evra has been at least the 2nd best left back in the league since he arrived.

    Really stupid and pointless remark you have made there!!!

    So a young relatively inexperienced utd defence that changes around a lot due to injuries have conceded 5 league goals in 7 games - big deal

    Jags and Baines are highly regarded, yet everton have conceded 8 in 6 - does that mean they are actually bad players? Everton have had their strongest defence out in virtually every game.

    You statement wasn't worth the effort it took to write it!!!

  • Comment number 40.

    Tottenham fan here

    First up, on his day Ferdinand is a really good defender

    However, in my opinion this is all too late and I really can't believe he's continued getting call ups as long as he has. Particularly after a dreadful world cup by England the focus should have been on capping younger centre backs, instead capello did that only when Terry and Ferdinand were missing.

    Phil you speak of comparing him with Lampard. Well arguably both are past their best and younger models should be blooded, however one crucial difference is that unlike Ferdinand, Lampard has been fit for the vast majority of the past 3 years and has played and continues to be available on a regular basis for club and country - indeed it was just one injury that took longer to recover from than expected that ruined his record.

    The facts are that even well before the world cup Ferdinand was missing a lot of games through injury, in fact he was missing as many games as my own team's player Ledley King. Yet the media and capello seemed to take completely conflicting stances with King and Ferdinand - with King it was a case of 'you can't take the risk' apart from with the world cup, yet with Rio it was pick him whatever, and not just that make him captain.

    Thing is, even if he gets back to full form and fitness soon, like Ledley has done, is he going to make it through the whole season and to the euro's? Jones, Dawson, Cahill, Jagielka should be getting games rather than relying on players unlikely to make it anyway.

    Comparison from Soccerbase. Bare in mind that Man U have had 3 very successful seasons competing in multiple trophies each time including charity shields, champions league, league cup finals etc

    10/12 Ferdinand 6games , Lampard 9games also 2 for England, King 4games
    10/11 Ferdinand 29games also 3 for England, Lampard 32games also 4 for England, King 9games
    09/10 Ferdinand 21games also 5 for England, Lampard 51games also 11 for England, King 23games also 2 for England

  • Comment number 41.

    The problem England has is you're so quick to judge players after a few bad games. Your cricket team is doing well right now because of consistency in selection so to say form players should be picked is rubbish. You'll get into a situation where you have a new team every time England play. But I do agree, the likes of Gerrard(I say this with great sadness after everything he has done for Liverpool), Lampard, Rio should be let go off. Terry still has a few years but should also be starting to feature less. Continuity of player production is a problem and that's why you suddenly need a new team and there's a good new generation to pick from and grow for 2014.

    I'm South African and we watch the EPL over here and I think that league gives the English unrealistic expectation of the national team. You need more english players starring for the top 4 in the CL than you do now and that is why you've grown reliant on the old guard. Glad to see Lampard shutting people up though. Gerrard will do the same but I hope he retires from international football and focus on Liverpool.

  • Comment number 42.

    I just dont see why everyone wants Terry, Ferdinand, Lamps and Probably Rooney, oh i forgot Rooney is only 24 just seems to have been around for lifetime. As we can see with Man U with all their youth, they make alot of mistakes and if against better opposition would have been punished more, as SAF after most games he is fuming with the over exuberance of the youth players. Phil Jones, yes a great potential, but if he made out of position forward runs against the bigger teams then it would be a disaster. Look at Arsenal, now with their youth system they are getting punished. I also remember Mclaren stripping Beckham of his captaincy, not sure how disrespectful you can get.

    A team to be a really good and balanced team will always need youth and energy and experience and wisdom on the pitch, the younger players need to be told what to do, its not just all about footballing ability and speed and skill.

    Just see how Lampard scored in the champions league and then on the weekend scored a hatrick, his first touch is supreme, his time on the ball is excellent his movement composure and balance is world class, but so many want a a player that has scored tons of goals from midfield thrown on the scrap heap.

    Get a life and get a grip on what football is about.

    And what about Scott Parker the weekend, absolutely essential for the win. But hang on he is 30 and wont be good in 3 years so why bother, total and utter BS i am afraid and its probably said by the fans who eat all the burgers before the match that write these things anyway.

    I could keep giving so many examples after examples, but if you dont like these players in our full national team then watch the under 21's.

  • Comment number 43.

    #40 what about the seasons prior to 2010, when Ferdinand was established as one of the top CB's in the world, how many times was King turning out for Spurs then? And he didn't even play in the world cup, picking up that knee injury beforehand. Probably wouldn't have conceded 4 to germany if he was playing

  • Comment number 44.

    Phil - I think Rio knows that his 'time in the sun' is getting shorter and he knows his body is likely to let him down if it comes under too much strain. Capello has done SAF a favour by not picking Rio for England because whether or not he is back to full fitness, he is clearly someway short of the top class form he has shown previously and this enforced absence from International duty will give him some additional time to recover.
    As SAF has done with Giggs (and is likely to do with Rio) and AVB is likely to do with Lampard, I also suspect Capello would, up to and including the European Nations Tournament, want to use such as Rio, Lampard, Gerrard and even Terry (who is less secure with England than he is with Chelsea) for certain (pre-selected) games only. At the same time Capello will want to start to 'slot' in the new boys. However whether the demands on the England squad would allow for so many 'experienced' players, to be, as it were, 'held in reserve' is another matter? The players of the so called 'Golden Generation' have had their 'time in the sun' and now its time to move on and give others a chance!

  • Comment number 45.

    I see many people complain about how leaky Man Utd's defence looks yet they're being praised by the media to be great. The reason United's defence looks leaky is because they don't have a settled back 4 since the start of the season, also Vidic's presence is sorely being missed and the main reason is the lack of cover midfield is providing for defence. There seems to be lot more space in the midfield of late than before. Once that is fixed people lets see how many people still bitch about United's defence.

  • Comment number 46.

    Ferdinand should go to the Euro's if he is one of the 4 best CB in the league at that time & thats why no one should be writing him off. I think he sometimes has lapses in concentration but seems like a player who never causes issues within the squad & has been a top defender for 10+ years. It would be a heck of a risk if we took 3 young defenders at CB but to be honest I would like to see us develope a side for World Cup in Brazil but Capello would be slaughtered if we bombed out early next year even if it was in the long term interests of the country.

    I still think it is in midfield where we have all the problems, we have never been bad at the back for a long time in tournaments (Germany in 2010 excluded) but getting enough ability & pace in the centre of the pitch will be key, maybe Jones could be the new Hargreaves, a busy player can break up play but also has the ability to move forward & pass.

    If both he & Wilshere were fit by around February I think it would be worth a go in a friendly. I am not sold on Parker or Barry against the top sides and you need legs against the Spain's & Germany's of this world. I think those teams are too far clear at this moment (Spain have a midfield of Xavi, Alonso, Silva, Fabregas, Iniesta, Mata, Thiago, Busquets etc) so lets plan ahead & give the younger players a chance in Euro 2012

  • Comment number 47.

    Anyway its not even news that Rio is not playing against Montenegro, its common sense, we have enough talent at the back to not evenneed him and therefore let him rest and spend more time preparing for the season and teach Smalling and Jones how to handle the big games....

    Fans expect to much, football brains no whats going on and the media just write dribble... and thats not the dribble we like to see in football, rather the dribble that comes out of a an elderly person mouth when asleep.
    Another pointless articule from the cheif head of football /

  • Comment number 48.


    Rio is currently rusty & no more. Ditto Gerrard.

    They & Lampard,Terry & Beckham should ALL be in the squad for Poland/Ukraine if we make the finals, PROVIDED all are fit & playing regularly.

    Of the new breed, McEarchan must be stuck out on loan to, say, QPR, for last 3 months of the season to be worth a place, Wilshere desperately needs to be playing by January to stand a chance & others like Jones,Smalling,Rodwell,Cleverley & co all need to stay fit & stay in the first team.

    Having said which, it's 2014 for which we need the new breed from the start of qualifying onward. And, around a year hence, all the old guard should be warmly applauded & retired.

  • Comment number 49.

    If Ferdinand is picked for Man Utd in the big games he should be in the England team, if SAF goes with Jones and Smalling then he must miss out.
    Simple as that, age has nothing to do with it.
    England need to qualify before trying out youngsters just for the sake of it.
    I suppose when that happens we'll have everyone calling them meaningless friendlies.

  • Comment number 50.

    Well thanks Moderators ;)

    Anyway @ 46 i think that's a very interesting suggestion to try and play Jones as a holdiing midfeilder in International games, i heard somewhere that he is a very decent midfeild players so why not give him a go their.

    I do think inn defence we have alot of options and Midfeild we are slightly ok, but we need some players to be on the top of the games to really make an impact, i hope we start seeing more of Adam Johnson.

    I think what we really lack is our attack, apart from Rooney we dont have to much else taht comes close to a world class Striker, lets hope Wellbeck comes good.

  • Comment number 51.

    Yet another blog about a temporary situation. Things change, teams and players lose form or excel.
    Rio is having a lean patch and after a couple of games on the bench he will get his hunger back.

    How can Capello be "notoriously single-minded," and random at the same time?
    He seems just random. Period.
    IMO he has little idea on his best line-up so far. He has chopped and changed probably with the hope that he might see some consolidation of a good team but his players have lacked consistency.
    Nine month out from naming his Euro squad we are still discussing, 1) who his right back should be, 2) which central defender partnerships work best 3) who should partner Rooney up front 4) what formation midfield would work.
    He doesnt know Walcott from Lennon from Johnson. He hasn't got faith in either Crouch, Bent or Heskey. And he has been messed about by longterm injuries, Gerrard Wilshire and G Johnson.

    England will qualify well, just like for S Africa but when we come up against the good teams.....what's the story Fabio?

  • Comment number 52.


    Well said, i dont really think there is to much more to add really. It could be an interesting blog, but i have no idea why Phil has to have Rio as the headline.

  • Comment number 53.

    The ideal scenario would be to leave Rio to further his club career a la Paul Scholes.
    The little great player extended his club career by waving ingerlund bye bye and benefitted by having a proper summer break that playing for your country curtails.
    Having said that...I would prefer that no Utd player waste's their time playing for the neanderthal's that inhabit our national stadium.
    Utd first..second..and always before ingerlund.

  • Comment number 54.

    "Ferdinand, a hugely popular figure within Capello's squad"

    Presumably before he was seemingly leading the big Utd love-ins as far apart from their Liverpool teammates in the changing room as possible?

    And why is his tweet 'light-hearted'? Why could it not also be taken as slightly bitter and sarcastic?

  • Comment number 55.

    @ 51

    Good comment, i think Fabio has no idea what would be his best starting 11, i think he reads the news and finds out who did well at the weekend and puts them in the squad.

    What England need is firstly a good sytem of how we want to play, then he needs to know his best starting 11. He cant just add Henderson because he now plays for Liverpool and was bought for so many Mil and Carrol because of his price. He needs to have stability in the tactics and choose the players that he thinks will fit into his system.

    If he doesnt do this then on the actual match day you will have a patched up team with no real idea of how to play together. You cant just put a team together on form and say play this way, its just all wrong. We need to have a system, take a look at Spain, they play a certain way, they have their brand of football, so do Germany and other teams ect. Its always a team that wins games and not just any one player.

    For me looking from the outside in this seems to be basic football, and i just cant understand why in England we create all these stupid problems for ourself. Yes the media adds pressure, but the Manager who is supposed to be top class can always make the media quiet if he has confidence in his own tactical ability, if we keep wining then the Media will be quiet.

    I am convinced that we have the talent in this country to be semi finalist at the minimum in the Euros and a good competitive side that will only lose to a very good team in the world cup and if we dont manage our players and create our own brand of football very quickly then England will always be a circus on the international stage.

    Sometimes we be hard on the players for not wanting to play for England, but i think that deep down they all do and its still the pinnacle of their careers, but the media and the fans make it almost impossible for them to play with heart and confidence and lets not forget, they dont need the money to play international football.

    So lets hope we just put in a good performance on Friday and play a nice system of football and we dont need everyone to put in a world class performance, we need to get used to playing a system of footall.

  • Comment number 56.

    If he does jack it in soon please, please don't commentate unless you do the coverage on the European satellite cards where it won't matter if no understands him.

  • Comment number 57.


    How much was 606 costing the owners of the BBC? i.e. the general public

    How much do mcnulty and bond et al make?

    Can't you just sack bond and mcnulty this evening and bring back 606?

    Their blogs are tiresome and unimaginative - they should both work for the gutter red tops that print mostly fabricated gossip!!

  • Comment number 58.

    Ferdinand could still get by in a lot of games with his experience and good organising skills however against the best he has been on the decline for a while.

    I would much rather see Barry axed than Ferdinand with him only being around the team as he is left footed imo, which is a joke as he plays central anyway. Capello still seems to not understand that keeping the ball and winning it back quickly is the way forward. I dont ever see the likes of Walcott or Lennon playing in a team that retains the ball with ease.

    There is talent there but surely its time for a English manager to get the best from them?

  • Comment number 59.

    I think it's probably time for Rio to try out with his local pub team. like John Terry, he's always been an overrated defender, who is lauded and acclaimed by the English media for his ''guts'', ''tenacity'' and ''bulldog spirit''. Notice how ''skill'', ''positioning'', ''clean tackling'' and ''technical ability'' are never used in a description of a ''good, old-fashioned English centre-half''?

  • Comment number 60.

    Could be the best thing to happen to Rio. After years of taking selection for granted, he is faced with the challenge of getting back to his sharpest if he wants to play regularly for England or United again; a challenge I am quite sure he will relish. It looks like a similar situation has already had the desired effect on Frank Lampard at Chelsea.

  • Comment number 61.

    The best defensive tactic is simply to keep the ball. To do that you need all ten outfield players to be comfortable in possession. In the last match against Wales I was shocked by how poor John Terry's touch was. How can he be England captain, at football, when he's so uncomfortable with the ball at his feet? I'm not Rio's greatest fan but him and Cahill should be the central defensive partnership.

  • Comment number 62.

    I think Ferdinand is at the end of his England career and perhaps he should pack it in and concentrate on United as Scholes did. He doesn't have John Terry's positional sense and isn't a natural leader. He was inspirational because of his speed and footballing technique but his pace has been reduced by a series of injuries.
    Lampard may not be able to play every game as he once did but he still has incredible positional sense and ability plus he hasn't had a tenth of the injuries that Rio has had. Of course senior players have to make away eventually but as we have seen with Zanetti, Seedorf, Van Der Sar, Giggs and Drogba, you are good enough if you can still do the things others will take years to learn.
    I think Ferdinand still has a career with United albeit at a reduced level but I fear his England career is on the wane. Terry will remain an England player if he stays fit for another two seasons and then retire after The Euros.

  • Comment number 63.

    He's nearly 33. He's coming to the end. The injuries have definitely shortened him. It's no biggie. Fergie, then Capello have already stripped him of his captaincy, while Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are both ready to replace him at both club and international level.

  • Comment number 64.

    Lets just hope whatever the FA decide to do after the Euro's we get a manager who will actually pick players on form & merit rather than who they play for. I am not knocking the Jones', Smallings' or Henderson's of the world but they wouldnt get near the first team at the moment if they played for Blackburn, Fulham or Sunderland yet they would still be the same players. Its like Ben Foster, go to Utd straight in the side leave & you are never going to be considered. The list goes on, if Welbeck was playing for Newcastle he wouldnt get in etc. We need to move away from that.

  • Comment number 65.

    Rio Ferdinand is the only genuine world class centre half England have had for years but unfortunately the English public and media seem to love their "put your head where the don't sun don't shine" type players.
    Terry and Ferdinand remind me of Nesta and Canavarro in the sense that the general public love Terry and Canavarro for their all action style of play but in reality Nesta and Ferdinand are so good at defending that they rarely leave themselves in a situation where they have to throw themselves at the ball.

  • Comment number 66.

    Another bias article. Phil talks as if it was only Rio that played in the match with Basle, and praises Jones to high heavens. Talk of Bolton shipping in goals, as if Cahill is the only defender in that team. Lets take every player based on individual performance. Capello knows that, that is why he picks them on individual recognition and not because their team is in first or last position in the PL. The press should not be seen to want to influence the manager's decision by singing praises of a player because they like them. I like the way Frank responded to your bias article about him in the last few weeks and i hope Rio answwers you the same way.

  • Comment number 67.

    Rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic
    Gossiping about Jones, Gerrard, Ferdinand et al is a complete distraction. I don't think people see the bigger picture.
    There's no point talking about getting ready for 2014 - ready for what - to struggle through to the quarter finals if we're lucky. The players coming through now have all been coached in old methods and it's too late for them. If you think that Danny Wellbeck is going to be world class you probably thought that about Andy Carroll too last year.
    I'm actually not blaming these players - they have been let down by poor coaching by the Football Association and a culture of physicality above skill.
    The next hope England have of winning anything is 2034 IF we get our act together now and completely change the way English youngsters are coached.
    Boycott England matches so the F.A have no doubt that the current situation is unacceptable. An Empty Wembley is a powerful message.

  • Comment number 68.

    I am not knocking the Jones', Smallings' or Henderson's of the world but they wouldnt get near the first team at the moment if they played for Blackburn, Fulham or Sunderland


    Is this the most non-sensical comment ever posted?!!!!

  • Comment number 69.


    It really is almost unfair that Nesta and Maldini were allowed to be in the same team. Honestly, if they had signed earlier and not gotten injured, then I think the same could have been said about Rio and Vidic.

    Regardless, United found two gems in Smalling and Jones and these two will make a ruthless pairing for the next decade. I really feel for Wenger on this one because he knew both Smalling and Jones were that talented, he tried to sign them, but then Ferguson swooped in and convinced them to move to United. Had Wenger signed them, things at Arsenal would look very different.

    Rio is a very talented defender, and I think Capello will make his decision based on big game selections (@49). We will just have to wait and see which of Ferdinand, Jones, and Smalling Ferguson chooses for big games.

  • Comment number 70.

    It does look like Rio's coming towards the end of his career at the top level, maybe a move to a smaller premier league club would be best for him at the end of this season - United will be wanting a regular back pair, and I'm guessing Taggart will be thinking about Vidic and Jones as his first choice. It's certainly going to be a tough few months ahead for Rio to get his form and fitness back to full throttle.

  • Comment number 71.

    Ferdinand will remain an integral part of the United squad for at least the next two seasons. Whether he plays for England or not is not the be-all and end-all of his career. He remains a class act and a great leader in the dressing room. I usually like to defend Phil but this topic of discussion is not really a story worth discussing. The fact he cant play every game like he used to is actually good for the development of united's younger defenders in evans,jones and smalling who will play more games learning off the stalwarts of vida and Rio. As Rio proclaimed when teamed up with Rooney in their pre-season Fifa tournament in the team hotel.....'We dont die!'

  • Comment number 72.

    Ferdinand has been quality for club and country, as has the likes of Gerrard, Lampard etc. However its time for a new generation to be blooded for their country. Very few younger players have had a look in over the last few years and if we're to stand any chance at all in future major tourney's we have to pick teams now with an eye on the future.

  • Comment number 73.

    I think Ferdinand was a quality defender and could definitely still do a job for both club and country but, like most people on here have said, we need to start building for the future. His positional play is quality and is a real "footballing" defender. has a good touch, calm on the ball and resolute in the air, all these things could make him an excellent player to have around the fringes of the squads to really help the youngsters.

    I think the Euro 2012 team needs to be have a lot of decent youngsters with the experience of the likes of Terry, Gerrard and Ferdinand around to help them out. i don't think these guys need to be breathing downthe necks of the youngsters though. We need to try and get a fairly settled side together and juat draw on the experiences of "the golden generation" to help us through the tournament.

  • Comment number 74.

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

  • Comment number 75.

    I think 2012 (if he makes it fitness wise) will probably be Rio's last international tournament. If he goes should depend entirely on whether he is able to shake of these niggling injuries and get a run of games (he needs that to get back to his best).
    The good news is based on his tweet then hopefully he will take it gracefully both for England and Manchester United. Afterall let's say he gets back to form for United playing alonside Jones and then Jones and Terry become the 1st choice pick (not saying this will happen just an example). Hopefully he won't be the kind of player to kick his toys out of the pram and will accept being behind them in the pecking order for club and country. Especially for club as maybe Jones could be first choice next year if he develops well but that experience as back up just in case would be excellent.

    P.S. did I see JDR back? Come to give Phil some of what you gave to Robbo?

  • Comment number 76.

    I agree with everybody saying get rid of Ferdinand, Terry, Lampard and Gerrard. It's time to move on.

  • Comment number 77.

    Ferdinand needs to play his way back into both the MU and England sides, but with careful management of his fitness he has the potential to do both.

    That said the future England defence should probably include Walker and Jones. Jones has been stretched recently, but for some reason United are playing him on the wrong side to keep Ferdinand in position, whereas they play Vidic out of position to accommodate Evans. United's defence has looked good when they have had their first choice players available - Vidic, Smalling and Rafael would be a big loss for any team, particularly with inexperienced EPL goalkeepers.

  • Comment number 78.

    England need to move on before 2014, but the Terry replacement is not as obvious yet.

  • Comment number 79.

    Why do we always talk about picking like-for-like replacements??!! i don't want someone to come in and be the same as Ferdinand, or terry or Gerrard...I want them to learn things from these players but have their own identities, be the player they want to be.

    Lets be honest, the "golden Generation" have done nothing...never won anything or excelled in any tournament. so why do we want someone to stand out as a replacemnt for ferdinand. and a different player to be the replacement for Terry? why can't it just be that (possibly in the future) Phil Jones is the best centre back in England so he's picked, Chris smalling has an exceptional understandning with him so he's picked, Martin Kelly is the best RB so he's picked etc.....

  • Comment number 80.

    #16: The word "defense", though it may look like a mistake to us, is completely proper International (meaning American) English. We've given our name to the language, and we still shape it to a large degree, but American spelling and usage can't really be called 'incorrect' these days; they outnumber us 300,000,000 to 60,000,000 (5 to 1), and America is a nonstop propaganda machine... promoting their own 'culture', including its peculiar spelling rules...

    "They're - Their - There" ???

    Well, that truly is ignorance and poor education at work. (The GOOD news is that message boards like these provide an excellent opportunity to practice, for millions who might otherwise never "write" a single word...)

  • Comment number 81.

    Can only be positive that Capello isn't making players automatic selections based on reputation and previous form (although not a brave decision given Rio isn't playing regularly for United).

    On another note... "Frank Lampard is already demonstrating the folly of writing off players who have achieved great things for their club in the past". Pretty sure Phil has had many scathing comments about Lampard's international career being dead during and after the last international break. Fickle.

  • Comment number 82.

    @ 80

    It may be international English, but on a British website the spelling is wrong!

    It's Defence!

    the Americans can spell it however they like on their sites, on ours please spell it correctly!

  • Comment number 83.

    I'd like to see this attacking team given a run out:


    Kyle Walker Jones Smalling Cole


    Adam Johnson Ashley Young




    Midfield diamond, Wilshere holding! Cleverley attacking. Rooney free role, behind Wellbeck, a la Messi.

    We could out-Spain, Spain in the way that I believe that SAF will try to out-Barca, Barca. It might be too adventurous but got to be better than Barry and Milner! To beat Spain and other world class sides you need to have players that play on their toes, and can control and pass instantly and will work just as hard without the ball.

  • Comment number 84.

    @ 83

    that wouldn't work at all!!! Cleverly attacking and rooney playing behind Welbeck would just get in each others way. Wilshere isn;t good enough defensively to play the holding role on his own as he wouldn't get any support from AJ or AY.

    Also, cleverley isn't good enough technically to pay that attacking role without someone alongside him!

  • Comment number 85.

    Ferdinand wasn't just good at his peak he was a brilliant defender, at the 2002 World Cup he was unbeatable and kept the winners Brazil underwraps.

    Best English defender for 20 years best Manchester United England international since Bobby Charlton.

  • Comment number 86.

    @ 85

    not sure he is the best English defender for 20 years, he was very good but i would say there are a few who were better. Think he was 'different' to some, but maybe not better.

  • Comment number 87.

    What's the issue? He's 32. Been out forever it seems with injury. There's no story here.

  • Comment number 88.

    I guess as a gooner you should just be glad the blog isn't about your team hey? ;)

  • Comment number 89.

    Ferdinand will only be picked to go to the 2012 finals if he is fit and playing well. Based on the last 18 months it is unlikely that he will meet even one of these criteria.

    However, I think we can't doubt his stamina after thirteen years of playing away.

  • Comment number 90.

    I'm amused that Capello took the captaincy away from John Terry for a quick fling with someone's ex girlfriend (aren't most single women someone's ex girlfriend?) and Capello gave it to someone who reportedly had been two timing his wife for 13 years. Great judgement! I wonder how he picks the team. By seniorty possibly? 13 years of infidelity must be hard to beat.

  • Comment number 91.

    @ wftb

    i think you should change your username to WUM ;)

  • Comment number 92.

    11 @ dogeared wrote:

    Every player has to be picked on their performances, and that is why both Ferdinand and Lampard should never play for England again.
    Terry and Gerard still have plenty to give.


    Can anything be more contradictory..??
    You suggest that players should be picked on their performances (which I agree with) and then wants Lampard (returning to form in style) out and Gerrard (didn't play for 6 months) in.

  • Comment number 93.

    I have just re-read the headline to this blog and got me thinking....shouldn't this be the case for EVERY player?! Surely they should have to fight every training session, every game, every photoshoot to be the very best?

    there should be no player in the world that doesn't have to fight to perform every week!

  • Comment number 94.

    why is there a blog on this? He will most likely make the next england squad along with Lampard et al despite the calls for youth. Complete non-story.

    Definatly looking forward to the 'New look England' or 'Frustrated England' blog in a few days....

  • Comment number 95.

    Its time to move on. Ferdinand is injury prone,he isn't going to get any better and his off-field antics are 'dubious' shall we say. Nothing against him,good player in his day but his day has been and gone.

  • Comment number 96.

    @ wtfb
    What has Rio`s private life got to do with it? He`s alresdy lost the captaincy (back to Terry.) So what`s the problem?
    I suggest sir, that you are trying to be sarcastic....................... EPIC FAIL!!!!

  • Comment number 97.

    I thought this was all decided the old guys have to be phased out to make room for the new generation of players. Lampard,Ferdinand and co are the past not the future. We have to start preparing for the next world cup now. Some of these guys can still play but the point is they will be too old for the next wc. Young talented players need the international experience so they'll be ready when all these dinosaurs retire.

  • Comment number 98.

    @ 97

    I think there is still a place in the squad for these guys but agree they need to be phased out. i think this will naturally happen though because at their age they are going to struggle to keep playing 3 games in a week. The exception may be Gerrard this year because of Liverpool not being involved with europe so he may be well rested and be able to perform at the top level.

    i think Lampard, Ferdinand, Terry etc. are getting very close to being left out completely but i still think they need to be involved in some capacity to bring their experience in to the squad and help the youngsters out.

    Would be good to maybe see Ferdinand in a kind of player liason role next year maybe?

  • Comment number 99.

    One Word;


  • Comment number 100.

    @ 99

    why come on here then?! why coment? Why waste your time?

    I think the only word on your comment is.....YAWN!


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