• Euro 2012

Capello confirms Ferdinand as skipper for Montenegro

ESPN staff
October 11, 2010
Rio Ferdinand has been handed the captaincy on his return to the England team

Fabio Capello has confirmed Rio Ferdinand will be restored as captain for England's Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro on Tuesday.

Ferdinand returns to the side to bolster a defence shorn of John Terry and Phil Jagielka, both injured, and he will be partnered by Joleon Lescott for the visit of the group leaders at Wembley. Steven Gerrard filled the role of captain superbly for England's first two games of the qualifying campaign, but Capello confirmed the Liverpool midfielder will hand the armband back to Ferdinand.

"I spoke with Steve yesterday evening and I explained why Rio would be captain against Montenegro," Capello revealed. "He understood the rules that when one captain is injured, it goes to the vice-captain. When the captain comes back, the rules will be the same.

"I spoke to Rio before training and I told the players that he will be captain for Tuesday's game. For me it is the rules. I told Steven 'you were a fantastic captain, and you must play tomorrow like a captain'. That spirit is important because he has to be a leader on the pitch.

"Rio is fit completely, and I watched his game against Valencia and he is playing better with every game. Now he is 100 percent. He is really important for all the other players. I prefer this kind of player on the pitch.

Capello quickly moved to quash any concerns over Ferdinand's relatively untried partnership with Lescott, for which he only has Bolton's Gary Cahill as central defensive cover.

"Lescott played very well against Switzerland, and Rio is fit and is a fantastic player. The players that are here are in a good moment. I've worked with the back four over the last few days, and they will be OK tomorrow."

The Italian also revealed Darren Bent will not be fit to face Montenegro after suffering a minor injury in training, so Peter Crouch will partner Wayne Rooney.

"Rooney told me he is OK, and he trained very well without pain in his ankle. He will play tomorrow hopefully with the same style as he did against Switzerland. Darren Bent is out, he can't play. We will play Crouch because Bent suffered a little pain."

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