Blame it on Rio: Ferdinand no longer an automatic England choice

If there is any good to come out of England’s defeat in the Ukraine it must be that Rio Ferdinand is no longer considered a shoe-in for the national side.

Manchester United centre-back Ferdinand, 30, has won 75 caps for his country in a distinguished career.

But nothing lasts forever and relying upon an increasingly injury-prone Ferdinand ahead of next summer’s World Cup finals is folly.

The player has already admitted his own fears about his bad back - which has caused him to miss numerous games for club and country.

And he was at fault for keeper Rob Green’s sending off when England conceded the penalty as Fabio Capello’s side slumped to a surprise 1-0 defeat in Ukraine.

Watching the footage online, Rio showed a lack of pace and sharpness after starting just three League games for United this season.

And I now think maybe John Terry and Matthew Upson could be our starters in South Africa with Gary Cahill as back up if Ferdinand is still struggling.

Both Terry and Upson are solid and good in the air and though neither are as fast as Rio, they have done well together and should be OK with Gareth Barry infront of them in midfield.

Despite David James starting on the bench in the Ukraine, it looks as if Capello is set to name ’Jamo’ as his World Cup No.1.

I know James well from our time at Liverpool together and he is surely our best option in goal.

But I would bring back Paul Robinson into the frame to at least put pressure on Jamo.

I would much rather have the in-form Blackburn keeper on the bench as back-up than Green, Ben Foster or Joe Hart or any of the other pretenders.

Robinson has come back strongly in the last 12 months following his move from Spurs to Ewood Park and deserves a recall.

Many readers of the Mirror probably never saw the Ukraine game live as it was screened on the internet.

The fiasco is a huge shame as millions would have watched it, including plenty of kids who are the next TV licence payers and England fans.

For me the decision not to take the match live by our national broadcaster is nothing short of a joke.

The BBC are quite happy pumping millions into Formula One.

Yet this is a sport which virtually no-one can ever participate in, that is under scrutiny after the Fabio Briatore race-fixing scandal and is sometimes broadcast at 5am in the morning! 

Whoever makes the decisions on bidding for sports events at the Beeb is getting it woefully wrong.

As if watching the game online wasn’t bad enough, those of us who coughed up then had to put up with Sven Goran Eriksson’s lame analysis.

Sven gave as much insight into the England team performance as George Bush used to on American foreign policy.

The scary thing is he was the national manager for five years and trousered the best part of £20million in the process.

He provided desperately poor analysis and did not deserve whatever he was paid.

On the topic of cash, wouldn’t it be nice if the reported £5.5m England player bonus pot went to charity should our stars win the World Cup?

In a day and age where most of the England World Cup squad are earning over £70,000 a week, I don’t think the players need anything extra for playing for their country.

There are many worthwhile charities that could survive for years on that kind of donation.

And I hope if the players do not give up the bonuses, that the FA will do the right thing.

Fancy winning £3,000 for FREE this month? Play Mirror Football Streak for your chance to win cash prizes! Start predicting now!

williamhill.com

Your comments

Latest columnists