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banner Friday, 3 August, 2001, 13:04 GMT 14:04 UK
Radebe loses Leeds captaincy
Radebe suffered a bad knee injury last season
Radebe suffered a bad knee injury last season
South African international Lucas Radebe has had to hand over the captaincy at Leeds United to club record signing Rio Ferdinand.

The 18m signing was effectively a replacement in the latter half of last season for Radebe, who was plagued by injuries.

The South African international missed the final three months of the season with injuries to both knees and Ferdinand took over the captain's duties when regular stand-in Gary Kelly lost his place in the side.

O'Leary predicted that Ferdinand will be "a fantastic captain for many years to come".

England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has already tipped the 23-year-old defender as an England captain of the future.

Fantastic buy

O'Leary said: "Rio has been an absolutely fantastic buy and I'm full of admiration for him.

Ferdinand has been a big hit at Leeds
Ferdinand has been a big hit at Leeds
"Rio is without doubt a top class player who can only improve, and the price tag, which brought him and us some stick, is already beginning to look very reasonable.

"I thought he did very well towards the end of the season, and grew into the role of captain and I think he will prove to be a fantastic skipper for many years to come.

"It's no reflection on Lucas Radebe who has done a brilliant job.

"He is a great man to have around the place, but I just felt Rio's game improved when he did the job with Lucas out injured."

Even before his injury, the South African FA had agreed with Leeds that they would minimise the number of national team games they would call Radebe for.

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