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Last Updated: Tuesday, 25 March 2008, 18:25 GMT
Ferdinand delight at captain role

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News conference: England defender Rio Ferdinand

France v England; Wednesday, 26 March; Kick-off: 2000 GMT Venue: Stade de France; BBC Coverage: Live on BBC Radio 5 Live and the BBC Sport website

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has spoken of his pride at being named England captain for Wednesday's friendly with France.

Ferdinand, 29, takes over the armband as part of Fabio Capello's rotation ploy ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.

"It is a fantastic honour and an achievement in itself," he said.

"As a kid you grow up wanting to play for England and lead your country out and I've been given that honour of being able to fulfil those dreams."

Chelsea defender John Terry, 27, captain under previous boss Steve McClaren, had been expected to skipper the side.

Steven Gerrard, 27, led England for manager Fabio Capello's first game in charge against Switzerland in February.

We need to be role models - part of this involves fair play and respect towards the referee and the public who come to see the games

Fabio Capello

"From what I've seen in the six days I have spent with him and from the games I've watched, Rio is a very good professional player," said Capello, who will appoint a permanent captain when England begin their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign.

"I want to see various players and see how they captain the side and I will rotate them during these warm-up games. I will use at least two more."

Capello insisted that he had not been put under any pressure by the Football Association not to pick Terry in light of events at White Hart Lane last week.

Terry led a group of Chelsea players surrounding the referee after Ashley Cole's tackle on Tottenham's Alan Hutton, an incident which prompted widespread debate about the lack of respect shown towards officials.

Capello said: "I wasn't put under any pressure and all the decisions I've made, technical or otherwise, have been my decisions. My choices.

"I've got my own eyes, I can see things and I can understand things for myself.

Rio Ferdinand
The past is the past and if you learn from those mistakes you've got every right to aim as high as you want to aim

Rio Ferdinand

"I said I would rotate the captains. I will have a permanent captain from August. Until then, John Terry has a chance to become England captain."

However, the England manager did add: "A captain must be an example to follow in training and a leader during the game. And, of course, I would hope he could be an example, a role model outside the game - in life - as well.

"That's very important, always. Not just for the England captain, but for everything that we, as sportsmen, show youngsters. That is very important. He has to be an example.

"We need to be role models when we play for England and when we play for our clubs. Part of this involves fair play and respect towards the referee and the public who come to see the games.

"In that respect, we need to get back something we may be losing a bit."

Capello insisted that Ferdinand's chequered past - the defender was fined and banned by the FA for eight months for missing a drugs test - was not an issue for him.

"We all make mistakes in life, the important thing is to work hard and rectify mistakes," said the Italian coach.

"From the mistake he made, he bounced back and came back a lot better."

606: DEBATE

Ferdinand is keen to prove himself that he has the ability and character to become England captain on a permanent basis.

"The manager is well-documented as saying he will not make his mind up until the qualifying starts in September and I'm under no illusions it is not set in stone," said Ferdinand.

"I'll be going out there, trying to do what I do for Man United, and if that's good enough to become captain of England then great."

The Manchester United defender insisted there was be no ill-feeling with Terry over his appointment.

"It's not like that - John Terry said well done and we are all mature" said Ferdinand.

"If John Terry needs to say something, I'm sure he'll say it.

"You don't change your game just on being captain - you need to be a leader no matter what.

"It's more important that there are 11 guys out there that want to lead."



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