Armband’s A Poisoned Chalice For Rio Ferdinand?

In the aftermath of John Terry’s extra marital activities Fabio Capello stripped the Chelsea skipper of the England armband and has handed it to vice captain Rio Ferdinand but will this appointment actually work out?

Now before everyone pipes in with talk of ‘missed drug test’ and ‘sex tapes’ its nothing new and did not hinder him in leading United to numerous Premier League titles and a Champions League trophy so I have no doubt that Rio can do the job for country as he has for club, rather my concern is a more selfish one.

Rio Ferdinand has struggled with injury for the past 18 months having been relatively injury free for the majority of his career. This season he has missed numerous games for United and has just returned from a lengthy lay off, so his becoming captain will not be news to the ears of United fans or Sir Alex Ferguson.

In team mates Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, Ferdinand has examples of players who have carried on at the top of their game well into the 30s and its no coincidence that both decided to call time on their international careers relatively early. I would have hoped Rio would have followed suit with the injuries he has been picking up but it looks like being awarded the captaincy will put paid to that.

Ryan Giggs, who famously missed the majority of Wales’ friendlies during his 16 year international career, finally retired citing concentration on his United career as a primary reason and it would have been hoped that Rio would have followed suit. This World Cup could have been his international swan song but now as the leader of the national team I fear he will continue to try and play the captain role way past when he should.

In the same breath, becoming England captain could help focus Ferdinand. He has other interests beyond football including TV, film and music and perhaps these interests could have seen Ferdinand call time on his football career early but having the armband could now extend his career as he looks to leave a lasting mark not only on the national team but also the game.

Attempting to maintain both a club and international career is not easy, especially towards the tail end of a career so even if it may provide a high for Rio now, it could hurt his United career in the future.

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