TinyTears’ reoccurring back injury will keep him out of this weekend’s England qualifier against Kazakhstan, meaning Rio Ferdinand will lead the team out as captain. Whether he will be given the job next Wednesday will depend on an assessment of Mr Chelsea’s injury at the weekend.
“Being captain in any game is great, but leading out England in the first World Cup qualifier at Wembley is very special,” said Rio. “I am very much looking forward to it. I will cherish this moment. To lead England out against France in Paris was great, but I think this will up the ante even more. Being at home in front of a sell-out crowd, in front of our own fans, my family there as well – I can’t wait.”
The England fans haven’t been too supportive in recent times, mocking certain players and booing the team of the pitch. The most striking incident was as the half time whistle blew in England’s crucial qualifying game against Croatia last season. With the team needing just a draw to qualify for the Euros, the fans decided booing them as they left the field would remedy the situation. There’s a novel idea.
Rio has asked for the support of the fans, although is pushing it a bit by claiming they are there to entertain. Unless we’re talking comedy value, there has been little entertainment in terms of quality football from the England team for a good few years.
“People sometimes forget that football is entertainment, and we’re there to entertain the fans,” Rio added. “But it is a two-way street. They can help us entertain them; when they scream their hearts out and make some noise. A lot of times in away games the fans are very vocal and you come out of the stadium thinking the atmosphere was incredible, and if we’d gone a goal down it would have been a hard place to be. We want Wembley to be like that, through the way we play and with the help of our fans creating that kind of atmosphere.”