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Page last updated at 11:03 GMT, Tuesday, 3 June 2008 12:03 UK

Butcher backs captain Ferdinand

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Rio Ferdinand
Rio Ferdinand is a prime candidate to be England's full-time captain

Former England captain Terry Butcher believes Rio Ferdinand should be handed the armband on a permanent basis by coach Fabio Capello.

Ferdinand and Chelsea's John Terry are favourites after being given the captaincy by Capello in friendlies.

Butcher told BBC Sport: "It would be very marginal and I would be perfectly happy with either Rio or John Terry.

"But I would just go for Rio because of the way he has matured and the outstanding player he has become."

England coach Capello has also given Steven Gerrard and David Beckham the captaincy, but the choice now appears to be between Ferdinand and Terry to lead the side into the 2010 World Cup campaign.

Butcher said: "Rio seems to have become far more consistent. He doesn't miss a lot of games. He is very strong and solid and has developed into a very impressive central defender.

John Terry
Terry Butcher believes John Terry will be influential even without the armband

"He has got pace, good ability on the ball, so on balance I would give it to Rio, but it is a very close call and John Terry is someone I would be very happy to be given the England captaincy."

He added: "Rio was out there in Trinidad. He didn't have to be but he wanted to be. He has taken on board the extra responsibilties, doesn't make anywhere near as many mistakes as he has in the past and his concentration and sharpness is excellent.

"John Terry has had injury problems and he is the sort of bulldog figure who has great captaincy qualities. I love John and the way he is prepared to put his body on the line and himself on the line.

"I love him as a player and see something of myself and the way I played during my career. He comes back from injuries quickly and is desperate to play. I think he is a great leader and a remarkable person.

"Rio is someone England miss when he doesn't play and Manchester United miss him when he doesn't play. He has been successful as captain at Old Trafford and he has been following a long line of great players.

606: DEBATE
Crazy Cesc & his doughnut disco!

"Sir Alex Ferguson doesn't hand that honour out lightly or frivolously, so it is a sign of Rio quality and personality that he gave it to him.

"Rio has settled himself down, matured and is now a phenomenal player."

Terry was captain during the ill-fated Steve McClaren era - but Butcher believes he would still be an important and influential figure even if he does not regain the armband.

He said: "John has had setbacks before and bounced back and he can still be a leader even without the armband.

"John is like myself and he needs a challenge and a mission. He will still be incredibly committed to England.

"He suffered one of the biggest setbacks you can have in club football when he missed his penalty in the Champions League final, but he is a big man who put himself forward and he is the type of character who will already be making it his mission to win that trophy next season.

"I would be happy for either Rio or John to take the armband, but now I would just go for Rio."


see also
Capello has concerns over England
02 Jun 08 |  Internationals
Beckham's England captaincy in photos
31 May 08 |  Internationals
Rooney 'can be England captain'
15 Apr 08 |  Football
Capello names Gerrard as captain
05 Feb 08 |  Internationals


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