The European Championship qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley in 10 days’ time could prove to be a painful double whammy for the defender, 31. This season Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has already stripped Ferdinand of the Old Trafford captaincy in favour of his defensive partner Nemanja Vidic, citing his injuries.
Now Fabio Capello could follow suit as England look to move further down the road to qualification for the 2012 finals.
Ferdinand’s World Cup was wrecked following an accidental training ground collision with Emile Heskey which damaged the defender’s knee ligaments.
It’s been a slow recovery, Ferdinand only playing his first major game in United’s 1-0 Champions League victory in Valencia in midweek. That convinced Capello that Ferdinand was ready for international action again – but maybe not as captain.
Capello feels Steven Gerrard has flourished as stand-in skipper and could be set for an extended run as England’s flag bearer.
The England boss says: “I will decide (on the captaincy) after seeing which players are fit. I can’t speak about who will be captain and who will not be.”
In Italy the captaincy is usually handed to the most capped or experienced player.
But that didn’t stop Capello stripping Chelsea’s John Terry of the captaincy over an alleged affair with a former partner of England team-mate Wayne Bridge.
Was Capello surprised that Sir Alex Ferguson removed Ferdinand as captain? “I think he decided on a player who plays more games. Who he could be sure would be fit. It’s always better that players like that are fit for a lot of games.