Date: 9th October 2008 at 2:28pm
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John Terry is forced to miss Saturday’s England game against Kazakhstan therefore Rio Ferdinand will be given the armband.

Rio famously missed out on the skipper’s role for which Terry was favoured, despite his regular and nasty verbal attacks on referees and his complete lack of effort to restrain his teammates when a decision goes against them.

It matters little to me, though: it would have been important for Rio, that’s the trouble. Certain privileges, like escaping bans for rugby tackles, will never be extended to United players, even if one of them happens to be the England captain so that beneficial effect would be non-existent in our case.

However, with the Chelsea man injured, it’s Ferdinand’s time now. He talked a lot of sense before the game and gave an honest assessment of England’s task.

“Against Croatia you could almost see what headlines were going to be written, that we are going to do this and going to do that. But it is not like that, it is not reality. Sometimes we lose sight of reality with all the euphoria.

“Expectancy levels are different in this game and as a younger player you might think it will be a lot easier. Through experience of playing a lot of games for England you realise that you have to approach every game the same. Maybe that is one of the mistakes we have made in the past. We have not approached each game in the right way and results tell you that.

“One game does not change people’s opinions. People expect a better performance from us on a consistent basis and rightly so. It’s no good doing it against a team away from home who have not lost for years in qualifiers and then coming home and being unconvincing and dropping points against a team like Kazakhstan.”

Well said, that. Finally no idle boasting, no hollow promises that they would deliver but an honest assessment and a stark warning. Of course England could still provide a woeful performance but at least their captain shows the right attitude at the moment.