Ferdinand a cert for World Cup 2010 even with fitness worries

Despite having played just 14 Premier League games for Manchester United this season, Rio Ferdinand has been named in Fabio Capello’s provisional 30-man World Cup squad. With defensive partner John Terry stripped of the England captaincy earlier this year, Ferdinand became skipper of the national team and although there are still some major concerns about his fitness, Ferdinand will undoubtedly be on that plane to South Africa when Capello trims his squad down to a final 23.

Ferdinand’s season has been marred with injury, the biggest scare coming when he missed three months of club football between the end of October and the end of January. Recently, Ferdinand was out for yet another month after injuring himself during the gruelling draw against Blackburn Rovers. With the World Cup being such a massive occasion for Capello and the nation, there are some who suggest Ferdinand should, in fact, stay at home. What happens if he is ruled out of the whole tournament after just the first game of the group stage? A fully fit Michael Dawson – who has enjoyed a spectacularly good season with Spurs – would arguably be of far better use in South Africa rather than gambling on a player who has simply not featured regularly at all this season.

Ferdinand cost Manchester United a phenomenal fee many years ago and has been worth every single penny ever since. The centre-back has been involved in England’s previous three World Cup campaigns and had the equally troubled Terry been more convincing at the back this season, Capello would comfortably have been able to cope with Ferdinand’s injury concerns. However, the Chelsea captain himself has faced well-publicised personal problems recently, briefly resulting in an unusually patchy spell of average performances. Nevertheless, Terry has done extremely well to go on and lift the Premier League trophy with Chelsea, something that will unquestionably boost his confidence ahead of the summer.

With issues over Ferdinand’s fitness, Capello has managed to recall 32-year-old Jamie Carragher into the squad. The Liverpool player had already retired from international football, but was convinced by the Italian of the need to come back into contention in light of injury problems. With Ledley King also looking likely to make the final roster, Capello knows that although his choice of centre-backs is risky, he certainly has four world-class options. Furthermore, should the United star be fit and raring to go this summer, England will have one of the best defensive partnerships in the world, consisting of two of the best defenders in the modern game – Ferdinand and Terry. With such a solid foundation at the back, England would expect to go far in South Africa. One thing is for sure: Rio Ferdinand means an awful lot to England’s potential success.

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