Rio guided by 'shining light' Moore
Rio Ferdinand intends to follow Bobby Moore's example as England captain - and rejects the theory he is being distracted by off-field projects. After initially being confirmed in the job last February when Fabio Capello stripped John Terry of the honour, Ferdinand had his position as England skipper rubber-stamped for a second time when he was handed the armband for Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro at Wembley. It is harsh luck on Steven Gerrard, who carried out the role with maturity on eight occasions during the 10 games since Terry was eased out, including at the World Cup and the three difficult games since. However, now Capello has made up his mind, Ferdinand only has to look back at his old club West Ham for the perfect example of how the job should be done. "Bobby Moore wore the armband with distinction," said the Manchester United defender. "It helped winning the World Cup but he also did it with pure grace. "You are judged by your behaviour and the way you carry yourself. He is a shining light of that and I would like to follow in those footsteps. "Captaining your country is a big responsibility. This country holds the captaincy in such high regard. You have to lead by example and that is what I will be looking to do." Yet with his restaurant, on-line magazine and a Twitter account that is followed with relish by an impressive 110,000 eager fans, Ferdinand has laid himself open to the accusation of being sidetracked, at a time when he is trying to prove himself on the pitch all over again. "It's weird and doesn't quite add up," he countered. "I am actually putting more time in on the training ground now than I have ever done in my life. "If people saw the regime I am on, they would re-evaluate what they are saying. "The stuff I do off the pitch does not consume much time at all. "I have two lovely kids, who I love spending time with, but we are always travelling, which is when I do other stuff. "It doesn't infringe on my football. Football is my life." Capello clearly has no concerns either judging by the way he assessed Ferdinand's performances in training since Friday and, once Phil Jagielka and John Terry pulled out, rubber-stamped his presence ahead of Gerrard, who it could be argued saved his job with those two match-saving goals against Hungary in August. "Steven is a really good player and will be really important for us," said Capello. "I spoke with him and thanked him for everything. But when I started as England manager, I decided who would be vice-captain and who would be captain. Nothing has changed from that." Even the opinion of Sir Alex Ferguson, who overlooked Ferdinand in favour of Nemanja Vidic for the role at Manchester United on the grounds of questionable fitness, failed to sway the Italian's opinion. "That is a club problem, not mine," said Capello. "I don't know what happens in the dressing room at United. I know what happens here. I have made my decision." Yet a cloud will hang over Ferdinand until such time as his fitness is proved by the games he plays. Although he has played four times for United since launching his comeback from the knee injury that wrecked his World Cup dream, it was not until immediately before the international break that he was trusted to complete two matches on the trot. Yet, in helping his club keep successive clean sheets for the first time this season, the 31-year-old emphasised the ability he has still retained. "The scrutiny comes with the job," he said. "People get uptight about it; I am not stupid. I have been injured and have been out for a while, so I have to prove myself again. "I have been at the top level for 12 years, with people saying great things about me. Now I have to do it again. That is not a problem." Rather more so are comments from people like Alan Hansen, who believe Ferdinand should forget all about England and concentrate on life at Old Trafford. That view of life is not one he appreciates. "How many times did he play for Scotland?" challenged Ferdinand. The answer is 26. "You can't retire from England. I can't. "I respect other people's decisions but I love playing for England. "To stop doing it would take a big chunk out of my footballing life. "Unless I am physically incapable of doing it, it is something I would not consider."
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