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Robson backs Ferdinand for England role

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 17 Aug 2008

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Former England manager Bobby Robson believes Rio Ferdinand would be a shrewd choice as the national captain.

Fabio Capello will choose his skipper ahead of Wednesday’s friendly international against the Czech Republic.

And Robson believes that while John Terry and Ferdinand are the obvious candidates, the Manchester United defender would be a clever choice.

“My instinct would be for John Terry because he is the type of naturally courageous player who leads his team-mates by example,” Robson told The Mail on Sunday.

“But Rio Ferdinand, so much more mature than five years ago, would be a clever choice for another reason.

“You feel Terry will give 100 percent whatever the game, whatever the weather, whatever the circumstances.

“But Ferdinand might find an extra 10 percent in his game by being captain.”

Robson, 75, explained: “I’ve noticed with Ferdinand the bigger the stage, the better he plays. He was outstanding in two World Cups but lost concentration in lesser games.

“By giving Ferdinand the responsibility of leading his country out, you almost guarantee world-class performances from him.”

And Robson called on Capello to be more attack-minded than his predecessor Steve McClaren.

“I still remember the negative 5-3-2 that cost us last time we went to Croatia. This time let’s not be intimidated by the opposition and play two strikers.

“For that to work in qualification, it has to be tried against the Czechs.

“If Wayne Rooney is still not 100 percent because of his virus, maybe Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe should be given a chance as club-mates at Portsmouth.

“I don’t know what the situation is with Rooney – but I’d like to see him at the England team hotel for some of the time, even if he isn’t needed to play.”

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