Friday 15 December 2017

Returning Rio to fill Terry void for England

Rio Ferdinand can prepare to be England's defensive rock again after John Terry's injury added to Fabio Capello's woes.

The Manchester United man will also find out today whether he will do so wearing the captain's armband.

Such is the nature of international football these days that, after arriving in camp on Thursday evening ahead of tomorrow's Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro at Wembley and sweating on getting into Capello's starting line-up, Ferdinand is now the man holding everything together.

After losing Phil Jagielka to a hamstring injury, aggravated during the first training session, Capello last night waved goodbye to Terry, who has succumbed to a back injury and returned to Chelsea for treatment.

It leaves Ferdinand to almost certainly partner Joleon Lescott against the team most likely to deny the Three Lions an automatic place at the finals in Poland and Ukraine.

For Ferdinand, the possibility also exists to reclaim the armband handed to him by Capello in February after Terry had been stripped of the honour, but which he has worn only twice in 10 internationals since.

Indeed, such has been the maturity with which Steven Gerrard has performed in the other eight, including all six competitive games of 2010, there are plenty who feel the Liverpool star should get the job full-time.

All will be revealed at lunchtime, after today's final training session.

One player who does not appear to have much to worry about is keeper Joe Hart, despite being pictured having a raucous time during a break in Spain last week -- but without having broken any curfew or Capello's trust.

It may be a little reminder to Hart of how his life will be scrutinised as England's new number one although, for the moment, he is more interested in overcoming a Montenegro team who started their campaign by beating Wales, have already added Bulgaria and Switzerland to their list of scalps and could create a headache for Capello if they avoid defeat tomorrow.

"Every single game is such a tough experience because we are always seen as a team that those below in the rankings want to beat," said Manchester City's Hart.

"Montenegro will want to keep the start they have had going and we want to do the same, so we are both pushing each other and it is going to be an intense affair."

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