Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson is thrilled Rio Ferdinand has been named England captain.
Ferdinand, who missed today’s 5-0 victory against Portsmouth through suspension, replaces John Terry.
The Chelsea defender has been stripped of the honour by manager Fabio Capello following damaging allegations about his private life.
Ferdinand is promoted from vice-captain and follows in the footsteps of other United players like Gary Neville, Bryan Robson, David Beckham and Bobby Charlton.
Ferguson said: “We are pleased for him and it’s great for Manchester United to have one of our players captaining our country.
“Over the years we’ve had Gary, Bobby Charlton and Bryan Robson for 60-odd games or something so we’re very proud of that.”
Terry met with Capello and his assistant Franco Baldini at Wembley yesterday following allegations of an affair with the former girlfriend of England team-mate Wayne Bridge – also a former club-mate at Chelsea.
The Italian decided the Chelsea skipper could not go on as England’s leader.
Ferdinand has experienced some desperate times in the game too, not least when he was banned for eight months for missing a drugs test. He missed Euro 2004 as a result.
Now the 31-year-old knows, fitness permitting, he will lead England into their World Cup opener against the United States in Rustenburg on June 12 and, should they progress that far, the final in Johannesburg on July 11.
For almost his entire career, Ferdinand has been compared to another West Ham idol, Bobby Moore, now he has the chance to follow him into immortality.
“When I chose John Terry as captain, I also selected a vice-captain and also named a third choice,” said Capello last night.
“There is no reason to change this decision.”