In the game it isknown as 'having aspell'. Rio Ferdinandis going through oneof those spells.Is he a world-class defender?Yes.
Is he playing like a world classdefender? Not at themoment.He will know that.
He's a deepthinker on the game and he hasa passion for it that sometimesis overlooked, because he has alaid-back swagger on the pitch.
Who me?: A bemused Rio Ferdinand is mistakenly shown a red card by the referee during the 1-0 defeat in Ukraine
He's as driven as any Englandplayer. Don't be fooled by hiscool exterior.Let's get it right he's had acouple of poor games. FabioCapello will not over-react.
It will bother him that CraigBellamy ran away from him toscore in the Manchester derby.It's not so much the originalmistake, but what happenedafter that. Bellamy is lightningquick, but Rio won't be used toplayers sprinting clear of him.
The top level of internationalfootball is about dealing withpace and movement.
Teamslike Spain will try to cut youwith their passing, down theside of your centre backs, fortheir runners to move intoshooting positions.
Because Ferdinand is quick,with those long legs and his elegantstride, he will recover hisposition, even after a momentarylapse in concentration,when he is on top of his game.
John Terry played well inDnipropetrovsk , but hebenefits from havingFerdinand's pace alongsidehim, which is why they makesuch a strong partnership.
Slump: Rio Ferdinand's struggling for form
Andthey will continue to do so.Rio knows he needs to returnto the training ground, assesshis game, get his feet movingagain, rediscover his trust in hisbody and fitness.
Then he willemerge from this run of poorform. I know what it's like whenyou are masking an injury andyour game suffers.
You have to be a freak ofnature like Ledley King orPaul McGrath to misstraining then still produce thehighest standard of performanceon match days.
Very fewplayers can achieve this.Without being on top of yourgame, you go to nick the ball,certain in your mind it's yourball to take, but suddenly theother player takes it off yourtoes.
You shake your head,question how it happened. Andthen the same thing happensagain the next time. When yourconfidence is shaken, whoeveryou are, you are not the sameplayer.
It happens.The way out of it is to re-trace your steps. It's a cliche, but youhave to go back to basics. Askquestions of yourself. Is mytraining good? Am I sharp? Ifnot, how do I recover that?
VIDEO: Frank Lampard defends the form of Rio Ferdinand.Rio will go back to ManchesterUnited after Wednesday's qualifieragainst Belarus and workwith their coaching staff onassessment and discovering theright programme.
He's a goodtrainer, always has been.Stupid players blame thepress and everyone else aroundthem. Good players, intelligentplayers, look to themselves forthe answers.
Ferdinand will not kid himself.He will know he is a little undercookedand the positive is thathe is going through this now,rather than in six months witha World Cup looming.
England are not exactlyblessed in the centre back position.
King, of Tottenham,continues to display remarkableclub form, but his fitness ina World Cup might force thecoaching staff to doubt hisplace in the final 23.
Competition: Matthew Upson is breathing down Ferdinand's neck
MatthewUpson is a good club defenderand Capello seems to like him,while Joleon Lescott is findinghis feet at Manchester City.
I've read suggestions thatUpson should replace Ferdinand,alongside Terry. I don'tsee that. They would make agood club partnership, whereyou are dealing with straightballs and crosses into the area,but are we really thinking Englandare better off without Riowhen we face up to Torres, Villaand Fabiano in the summer?
I like Bolton's Gary Cahill,who is in this squad and isemerging as an excellentdefender.He reminds me of JamieCarragher a body-on-the-linedefender but we don't knowyet if he can step up from theBarclays Premier League.
I'msure we'll have a chance to findout during the pre-World Cupfriendlies.Players go through a dip.Steven Gerrard, for instance,couldn't pass a ball to his ownteam against Croatia two yearsago.
But he soon came backfrom that.Some observers don't seemsatisfied unless we are singlingout a player. Rio will come goodagain. Form is temporary, classis permanent.
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Explore more:People:Rio Ferdinand, Jamie Carragher, Joleon Lescott, Steven Gerrard, CRAIG BELLAMY, Matthew Upson, Fabio Capello, John Terry, Jamie Redknapp, Gary Cahill, Frank Lampard, Ledley KingPlaces:Manchester, Croatia, Spain, United Kingdom