FRI, 2:30PM ET
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FRI, 2:30PM ET
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SAT, 10AM ET
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SAT, 10AM ET
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Rio Ferdinand's Exit Doesn't Hinder England's Chances of Winning the World Cup (Welcome to the England Captaincy Steven Gerrard)

 Rio Ferdinand's Exit Doesn't Hinder England's Chances of Winning the World Cup (Welcome to the England Captaincy Steven Gerrard)

On a day where two of the Premier League’s brightest and most popular stars succumbed to various knacks and knocks and subsequently exit the World Cup, another of the league’s most popular athletes ascends into the captaincy of the England National team feeling strangely like some hand me down jacket worn by your older brother. Realistically, Gerrard will be Capello’s third choice after the off the field exploits of John Terry and most recently because of Rio Ferdinand’s naggled knee.

I’d argue, like the USA’s temporary loss of striker Jozy Altidore, that the loss of Rio Ferdinand won’t place England too many pegs down the potential World Cup winning pole as the once great defender has struggled with fitness and form on and off for the entire year for England and more detrimentally to Manchester United. Was Ferdinand really to miss all those games for club and country and somehow miraculously return to his best from in time to lift the World Cup? 

Many will say Ferdinand’s pace at the back is what England will miss most as opposed to his leadership as captain, and although I don’t whole-heartedly disagree with that ideal, Ferdinand has not been the rock in central defense that once heard the words “best defender in the world” uttered not so long ago. England are a team that have traditionally always defended well. A loss of Ashley Cole and his ability to overlap the left sided midfielder and support attacks would have hurt England more than Rio’s exit.

Still, an injury is in injury and a loss is a loss. The national team is sending their captain home before a ball is kicked in anger as an already nail biting and obsessed nation slump their shoulders again, this time the weekend before the opening round clash with the US.

So who will partner John Terry in the center? The aging and slowing Jamie Carragher? The unreliable Ledley King and his knee? Or the still somewhat inexperienced Matthew Upson or Michael Dawson? Likely, Capello will pick King as long as he can play. He’s favored him in the past, and although he didn’t impress v Mexico, King has the class and talent to overcome the pain he plays with while his partner with club Michael Dawson waits in the wings. Matthew Upson has also performed well for England during qualification when King, Carragher and Dawson were unavailable. England have other choices to pair with John Terry that can get the job done, the sky in fact has not started to fall. At least not yet.

When Steven Gerrard places the captain’s arm band on and runs out against the States, it’ll be painfully clear to England fans that the loss of Ferdinand won’t hinder their chances of lifting the trophy. The 2010 World Cup was always going to be won or lost on the shoulders of Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard – England’s three best players and the ones most likely to score goals. The title won’t come down to one defender, captain or not. Progression in South Africa will depend on England’s ability to retain possession in midfield and find Wayne Rooney to score or make plays regardless of his positioning. The defending of England’s goal is still in capable hands as is their ability to win matches and go far because of their real star, Fabio Capello.

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5 Responses to Rio Ferdinand's Exit Doesn't Hinder England's Chances of Winning the World Cup (Welcome to the England Captaincy Steven Gerrard)

  1. Wha? says:

    “The unreliable Ledley King and his knee?” Ledley may have an unreliable knee, but he was very steady when he played this year (which was frequently the second half of the season). That’s an unfair and inaccurate comment. Maybe it was a typo.

  2. Chris Jenner says:

    I agree with this article. Ferdinand is not the same player he was, nor is his pace. Did you see Craig Bellamy blow past him after his giveaway in the first Derby this season? Ferdinand is no longer a fast and fit defender. Capello was relying on his experience more than anything. This was bound to happen. He hasn’t been fit all year. Be thankful it happened before the tournament when another player can be brought in to replace him. Ever since I saw Gerrard bring his team back from 3-0 down against AC Milan in the Champions league final, I thought he should have a shot at the arm band. Now he gets it. This will not hurt England’s chances, Ferdinand has been out of sorts all season, and I very much doubt he would have got his game and health back after the way his season went.

  3. MartinCanterbury says:

    Have to agree that while it’s disappointing for Rio to be going home so early, the team won’t be affected too much. His chances of staying fit throughout the tournament were pretty slim – how many times does a player get injured just after they make a comeback from injury?- and lack of match practice would have told at a critical point.

    I think Dawson could perform really well. I remember 1 / 2 seasons ago when he was the junior partner in Spurs defence, King and Woodgate both injured and he led the defence for the best part of the season. Also had to adapt to playing with many different defensive partners. This adaptability could prove a great asset during the tournament.

    And yes Gerrard has proved himself as a captain. No worries there and could even boost his own game.

  4. Raatzie says:

    Steve Gerrard, Gerrard
    He’ll hit you right in your grid
    He’s headed for Real Madrid
    Steve Gerrard, Gerrard

    Steve Gerrard, Gerrard,
    The man’s no flash in the pan,
    If not Real, Inter Milan
    Steve Gerrard, Gerrard

    Steve Gerrard, Gerrard
    The captaincy is now his
    Cuz he didn’t [censored] the WAG of Bridge
    Steve Gerrard, Gerrard

    /Tip your waiters, I’ll be here all week.
    //Drive home safely.

  5. BBC says:

    Nah, nothing to see here. England’s fine. Don’t worry about losing two captains. Don’t worry that Capello is frightened to go into the Cup without Barry, the same player that City fans hate, that Villa fans used to hate. England’s stiill the class.

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