England striker Danny Welbeck insists Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand is still "a Rolls-Royce of a defender" despite him being left out of Fabio Capello's latest national team squad.
The 20-year-old, who is hoping to make his competitive international debut at senior level in partnership with another United colleague, Wayne Rooney, rejected any suggestion that Ferdinand, who has struggled with a series of injury problems recently, should be written off.
"We all know what capabilities he's got - he's a Rolls-Royce of a defender," Welbeck said. "It's wrong to write him off. We all know the ability he's got."
Ferdinand had been expected to be included in Capello's squad for the crucial Euro 2012 qualifier away to Montenegro on Friday having recovered from a hamstring strain suffered in August. However, the Italian has decided he is lacking in match practice.
Welbeck would relish forming an all-United strike pairing with Rooney, and said: "He's been on fire, he has started the season scoring goals and creating goals. To be training with him every day is a bonus and I'm going to learn from him.
"He's a great guy to go to for advice, he's always talking to you during training and it's been really beneficial.
"Because we've been training together for a couple of years now it would work (as a partnership for England)."
England need just a point in Podgorica to ensure a place in next summer's Euro finals in Poland and Ukraine, with Montenegro needing to beat England and then follow that up with a win over Switzerland in Basle next week to finish top of Group G.
However, Welbeck felt England should approach the game in a positive manner.
"I don't think it would be right to go to Montenegro and play for a point, our aim is to win every game we go into and I don't see why we can't do that," he said.