England captain John Terry is a major doubt for England’s World Cup qualifier with Kazakhstan on Saturday – meaning Rio Ferdinand could get the chance to lead his country once again.
Ferdinand, who admits that he will consider his England career a disappointment if he does not win some silverware with his country, narrowly missed out on being handed the armband by Fabio Capello in August but is standing by to take over if the Chelsea man fails to shake off his back problem.
Terry has been troubled by the back complaint since a recurrence against CFR Cluj last week and while he was able to play a partial role in training yesterday after missing Tuesday’s session, he did not complete it all.
While the Football Association have yet to officially rule Terry out of the match, reports suggest that the likes of Matthew Upson and Joleon Lescott are already being prepared to start on Saturday, and could even be required for the match with Belarus next week.
Emile Heskey is expected to be involved despite sitting out training yesterday with a back injury.
If called upon to lead the side, Ferdinand will be hoping to oversee two wins and help push England closer to a competition he is desperate to win.
The Manchester United defender has always said he will assess his success in the game by the number of trophies in his cabinet when he finally decides to retire.
So far he has amassed three Premier League medals and a Champions League gong, courtesy of the penalty shoot-out win over Chelsea in May.
But the only notable milestones in his international career are an appearance in FIFA’s 2002 World Cup dream team and, on the down side, the ill-fated missed drugs test a year later which forced him to miss Euro 2004.
Ferdinand admits that a lack of success with the national team is a real bugbear.
“With England I have been very disappointed,” said the 29-year-old.
“It’s not just that I have never won anything with England, I have not even been in a position to win something by getting to a major final.
“I regard that as disappointing and the hunger to achieve something is only enhanced by the trophies I have won with Manchester United.”
Not that Ferdinand is planning the end of his international career.
Saturday’s encounter with Kazakhstan might represent another step on a journey towards a fourth World Cup but the former West Ham and Leeds defender is adamant that it will not be his last.
“I would like the opportunity to play in at least one more,” he said.
“Put it this way, whenever this World Cup campaign finishes I won’t be sitting there thinking ’That’s me finished’.
“My mentality is to play until I am not picked.
“That is what I will be trying to do and hopefully my performances will help me.”