Ferdinand understands agony of axe
Rio Ferdinand has revealed the sympathy he will feel for seven England players who will have their World Cup dreams shattered by Fabio Capello. Ferdinand is now established as England captain and relishing the prospect of leading his country into the finals in South Africa next month. But the central defender, who had been part of the 1998 World Cup squad, was devastated to be excluded by Kevin Keegan from Euro 2000. Gareth Barry, then operating as a central defender for Aston Villa, edged out Ferdinand although he did not taste any action during the finals in Holland and Belgium. Capello will trim his squad down from 30 to 23 on Tuesday after having a final look at his players in Sunday's friendly with Japan in Graz. But Ferdinand is confident the Italian will deal with the issue in the right manner and he will be available to lend a helping hand if required. Ferdinand said: "I've been there in terms of being left out of a finals, I've had that talk, that conversation, saying 'you are not experienced enough, not good enough' - however they want to dress it up. "You are not getting that chance to go on the plane and to have that said to you is not a nice thing so I've been there and I've got the experience to deal with that. "When the time comes I'm sure we will deal with it in the right way. The manager is top drawer and I'm sure he will sort it out. "I was left out for Euro 2000 and it took me that summer to get over it. "But I went back to training, was a better professional, trained harder and became a better player and I say for the younger players (left out this time) to probably do that as well." Capello has already committed himself to naming Chelsea trio John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole in his side to face Japan, who were beaten on home soil by South Korea this week and do not seem equipped to make any kind of World Cup challenge. Joe Cole should also play some part, along with David James, whilst Scott Parker would hope to be involved as he tries to prove he is capable of being Barry's stand-in given Michael Carrick has struggled for form recently. Ferdinand admits it will be a nervy time during the next few days for the players on the fringe of Capello's plans who are looking to make an 11th-hour claim to be part of his final squad. He said: "I think for some people that's the way it is going to be. It is a nervous situation. "It is pressure, you want to do well, you want to be on that plane and I've got the experience of three World Cups previously so nerves wouldn't really kick into me. "But for some other people it may do from not having the experience of being in that situation before." Having delivered an optimistic bulletin on Barry, who is now favoured to recover from the ankle injury he suffered against Tottenham on May 5 and play some worthwhile part in the Group C action, Capello knows the remainder of his squad have come through their Austria expedition in good spirits. Although pictures of Steven Gerrard receiving treatment on the training pitch at Irdning looked worrying, the FA played down the significance of those stretching exercises at the time and the Liverpool captain was able to train today. Stephen Warnock and Glen Johnson, who reported minor problems yesterday, also took part, with the only absentee Ledley King, who was consigned to gym work as he nurses his delicate knees that will not be risked against Japan. England began their warm-up programme in earnest with a 3-1 win over Mexico at Wembley in which King scored, and Ferdinand feels it was a beneficial exercise. He said: "It was good to get a game under our belts. We've been together for a few days now and it was really just to get the first game out of the way. "Everyone had been chomping at the bit to put themselves out there in front of the manager and show him what we can do and we've now had that chance. "We actually started quite slowly. We had watched their games beforehand on video and Mexico are a talented side with some good individuals and they kept the ball well in the first half. "We managed to go two goals up which was quite weird considering the way the game panned out but hopefully that is a good sign to come for us in the coming games."
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