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Rio quick to praise 'real heroes'

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25 Mar 2009 09:15:00

Rio quick to praise 'real heroes'

Fabio Capello and his England players met members of Britain's Armed Services on Tuesday, with Rio Ferdinand labelling them 'the real heroes'.England were beginning preparations for Saturday's international friendly with Slovakia on Tuesday but immediately took a back seat to selected members of the Forces, who have recently served in Iraq and Afghanistan.And after a specially arranged lunch at the Three Lions' training base in Watford, Ferdinand confirmed the England players are not the ones who should be put on a pedestal."They are the heroes," he said."You are speaking about people who are going out and risking their lives for the country."We have seen so much on TV about how these guys go about their work and the sacrifices they make for our well-being, for us to be able to share the same room is a privilege."We know how to play football and lose matches but what they do is a bit different to losing a game of football."They are more worthy of the word hero than we are."In the group getting autographs was Marine Ben McBean, who lost an arm and a leg when a landmine exploded in Afghanistan, from where he flew back on same plane as Prince Harry.It is highly unlikely David Beckham has ever been presented with replacement limbs to sign, but the mere fact he was - and in such a jovial manner - is a reminder of the courage and refusal to give in which is so prevalent among those risking so much."I enjoy football," said McBean. "I am the team goalkeeper. Don't think I couldn't do it just because I've only got one arm and one leg - I make sure I get my chest in the way!"McBean is going through rehab and will take part in a project to climb Mount Everest in October along with his fellow marine Matt Kingston who lost his right leg below the knee after being shot in the ankle in Afghanistan."I decided to have my leg amputated because it wasn't healing properly," said Kingston, who added: "I might see if I can lose an arm as well and see if I can get as much attention as Ben."You have to be able to laugh about it. That is part of the recovery process."


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