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Alex Ferguson proud of England captain Rio Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand watched Man Utd's 5-0 win over Portsmouth on Saturday

Sir Alex Ferguson said he is "proud" that Rio Ferdinand has followed in a long line of Manchester United players to become England captain.

Ferdinand, 31, is set to take over from John Terry who was stripped of the role by England boss Fabio Capello after allegations about his private life.

"It's great for Manchester United to have one of our players captaining England," said Ferguson.

Ferdinand was named by Capello as the vice-captain in August 2008.

And although his promotion to captain is yet to be confirmed, Capello said on Friday after meeting Terry: "When I chose John Terry as captain, I also selected a vice-captain and also named a third choice. There is no reason to change this decision."

Terry met with Capello, 63, at Wembley to discuss allegations of an affair with the former girlfriend of England team-mate Wayne Bridge - also a former club-mate at Chelsea.

The manager said his decision to strip Terry of the captaincy was influenced by his decision to do "what is best for all of the England squad".

Ferdinand has already been England captain under the Italian during a period when Capello rotated the position in friendly matches before England's World Cup qualifiers.

Rio Ferdinand
Ferdinand captained England against France in March 2008

Prior to wearing the armband in the 1-0 defeat to France in March 2008, Ferdinand said: "It is a fantastic honour and an achievement in itself. 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."

The former Leeds and West Ham defender follows in a long line of Manchester United captains who have gone on to lead their country such as Gary Neville, David Beckham, Bryan Robson and Sir Bobby Charlton.

"Over the years we've had Gary, Bobby Charlton and Bryan Robson for 60-odd games or something so we're very proud of that," added Ferguson.

Ferdinand has made only nine starts for his club this season because of a long-standing back problem and is currently serving a four-match ban, which he is contesting, for an incident against Hull last month.

In 2003 he was fined and banned from playing football for eight months after he missed a drugs test.

That suspension meant he missed Euro 2004 but when handing the Londoner the armband two years ago, Capello said: "We all make mistakes in life, the important thing is to work hard and rectify mistakes.

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

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see also
Capello strips Terry of captaincy
05 Feb 10 |  Football
Ferdinand drops extra ban appeal
09 Feb 10 |  Man Utd
Ferdinand delight at captain role
25 Mar 08 |  Internationals
Ferdinand banned for eight months
19 Dec 03 |  Football

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