VIDEO: Rio's honour
By Nicholas Veevers
Tuesday, 12 October, 2010
Ferdinand delighted to be back and urges England to 'bring their A-game'
Click here to watch video of the press conference.
Rio Ferdinand has spoken again of the honour he feels at leading out England in tomorrow’s game with Montenegro at Wembley.
The Manchester United defender has been absent from the squad since an unfortunate knee injury picked up in training before the World Cup last summer ruled him out of action for a number of months.
Having worked his way back to fitness in recent weeks and won back his place in the United team and England squad, Ferdinand is now hoping to pick up where vice-captain Steven Gerrard left off and keep up the so-far perfect record in their European Championship qualifying campaign.
“It’s a great honour to be named as England captain, but it’s just great to be back playing again,” he said.
“Obviously I’ve been out for a while since the World Cup, but to come back and be named as the captain is fantastic.
“I must say that Stevie, who has been captain since I was out, has done a fantastic job especially in the qualifying games where we’ve played two and won two. We just want to continue that now.”
Ferdinand also feels that with Gerrard having had such a successful spell with the captaincy, it can only benefit the team to have that extra leadership and experience on the field.
“Stevie has worn the armband before, Wazza (Wayne Rooney) has worn the armband before and obviously myself, so it’s more important to have players like that on the team,” he added.
“We’re both professionals and we’re both experienced players, so we knew it was between one of us to be the captain and if it had gone the other way I would have shook Stevie’s hand and wished him good luck whilst being right behind him and I’m sure that’s the way it is for him.”
One thing that has changed since Ferdinand’s last appearance in the squad is the emergence of players such as Adam Johnson and Jack Wilshere, and that is something which has further encouraged the 31-year-old with regard to England's future.
“It’s nice to be able to go out there and train with the likes of Jack Wilshere and Adam Johnson,” he admitted. “They’re two young players, who are hungry and really talented boys that are trying to get in the team.
“It makes you feel a little bit old when you’ve got lads of 18, 19 or 20 trying to get in the team, but it’s great and long may that continue.
“The injuries we’ve had are unfortunate, but that’s what having a squad is about. It’s about players coming in and taking their chance to put themselves in the Manager’s eyes and making sure they do a good job.”
With Montenegro arriving at Wembley as leaders of Group G after winning all three of their games to date, Ferdinand is expecting a thorough test on Tuesday night.
Their most recent victory came on Friday evening when Roma striker Mirko Vucinic hit the winner against Switzerland and he is one player that Ferdinand knows will have to be closely watched.
"I have seen Montenegro play before - they have very talented players," he said.
"I’ve played against Vucinic, who plays for Roma, before and he’s a great footballer.
“They are one of the stand-out teams in this group and we're in for a hard game against them.
"We've got to make sure we bring our 'A' game to make sure we put the game to bed as they have started well in the group."
To buy tickets for the England v Montenegro Euro 2012 Qualifier next Tuesday night at Wembley, click here