Manchester United central defender Rio Ferdinand has emerged as the favourite to be named England’s full-time captain by manager Fabio Capello.
Capello has been impressed by Ferdinand’s leadership qualities since taking over as England boss in December following Steve McClaren’s dismissal, having named the Manchester United defender to lead his country against France in Paris a month ago.
It seems increasingly unlikely that Capello will resort to the former lead-candidates, namely John Terry and Steven Gerrard, as he seeks to stamp his presence on the team and lead them in a new direction.
And while dark-horses such as Gareth Barry and Owen Hargreaves may yet get an opportunity to impress the Italian tactician in upcoming friendly fixtures, Ferdinand is the most likely to get the armband due to his outstanding form this season at club level.
Ferdinand has said he would be delighted to accept the job should he be offered it, but insists it is team success rather than personal triumphs that he is most desperate to achieve.
Proud Of Achievement
''Being captain for England the once so far was great, likewise being skipper at Manchester United is absolutely fantastic,” he said.
“Whenever I pull that armband on it is a proud moment for me and my family because of the long line of illustrious people who have worn it before me. But all that is diminished if we aren't successful in that time. Success as a team is paramount.
“You don't set out in your career or at the start of every season for personal accolades. You set out to achieve things as a team. If personal accolades come after that or during it then great but that is not top of my agenda.
“I want to be a successful player and I want to win more and more trophies. I am greedy. I want to win the Premier League every year, I want the European Cup every year and I want to win things with England.”
Ferdinand has become the regular stand-in skipper for the Red Devils due to Gary Neville’s long-term absence and Ryan Giggs’ diminishing role in the first eleven over the last few months.
Sir Alex Ferguson has hailed the former Leeds man as a natural leader, and has revealed that the 29-year-old is a shoe-in to take the United captaincy permanently as Neville and Giggs draw toward the end of their decorated careers.
“Rio has been captain with Gary Neville injured and Ryan Giggs unavailable,” Ferguson said. “And obviously as Ryan gets older Rio is the natural successor — that is his destiny.
“His experience has added to his many abilities. He is one of the most natural footballers in England.
“For a defender, he is so quick and mobile and technically gifted.
“His performance in Barcelona was absolutely superb. He and Wes Brown were fantastic.”