Ferdinand keen to keep England captaincy

May 3, 2008

Rio Ferdinand wants to retain the England captaincy but insists he will not 'shrivel up and go into a shell' if he is overlooked by Fabio Capello.

Ferdinand captained England for the friendly with France in March and also donned the Manchester United armband during Gary Neville's long-term absence through injury.

Capello appointed Steven Gerrard as captain in his first match in charge of England while John Terry, the skipper under Steve McClaren, is also a candidate.

Ferdinand told The Sun: 'Being the captain of England can never be a hassle.

'It's an honour and privilege. It's not the be-all and end-all for me.

'If I'm not the captain I won't shrivel up and go into a shell.

'It won't affect the way I play or my relationship with the other players.

'If something needs to be said in the dressing room, I'll say it.

'I'll still play with 100% commitment. But I'd be lying if I said I would not like the captaincy on a regular basis.

'Of course I want it. Any player would.'

The 29-year-old also recalled his shock at being handed the captaincy by Capello, saying: 'We were having lunch when the manager stood up and everyone went quiet.

'He just said `Captain for the game is Ferdinand' and sat down again.

'I didn't know what to do or what to say.

'It was a bit embarrassing really.'

The former West Ham and Leeds defender admits the team are still adapting to Capello, who succeeded former boss McClaren at the end of last year.

'We're all walking on eggshells.

'We all knew Steve McClaren before he got the manager's job but no-one had had any contact with Mr Capello when he took over.

'No-one knows his personality and it's too early to say what the differences will be in terms of tactics and the football he wants.

'The vibe I get from all the lads is that Capello has won just about everything and we need to be like sponges to soak up all the information he gives out.

'I'm sure we'll have a better idea of what he wants after spending a few days with him in Trinidad at the end of the month.'