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By ESPN Staff

Rio backing Sol to return fresher for England

Rio Ferdinand believes Sol Campbell's torrid season could help, rather than hinder, his chances of making England's World Cup squad.

Arsenal defender Campbell spent more than two months out of the Gunners' first-team due to injury and off-field problems which culminated in his brief disappearance following the February 1 defeat by West Ham.

And after suffering a suspected broken nose in last night's draw with Portsmouth, his hopes of being included in Sven-Goran Eriksson's starting XI in Germany have been dashed unless Ferdinand or John Terry pick up injuries.

But Manchester United defender Ferdinand, 27, believes the 31-year-old's inactivity could actually benefit him.

'You want your best players and your most experienced players in and around the team and in the squad. But as players we don't pick the squad or the team, we've got to leave it to the manager,' Ferdinand told Sky Sports News.

'Sol's been unfortunate, along with Jonathan Woodgate, with injuries in the last season.

'Maybe that will play against him or maybe he'll come back fresher, and the manager could see that as a good ingredient to add to the squad.'

Earlier this season things were very different for the two defenders. Ferdinand's poor form saw Campbell replace him in Eriksson's first-choice side and the former Leeds man admits though he was disappointed at the time, his reaction turned things around.

'At times like that you've got to show your character to come through situations where it's a bit negative,' Ferdinand told TalkSPORT.

'It's been well documented that I was not happy at the time, I think if I wasn't unhappy it would be a problem; I'd have to look at myself in the mirror and ask `am I in the right sport?'.

'You've got to hit back in the right way by putting in good performances and hopefully I've done that.'

Ferdinand has also backed United team-mate Wayne Rooney to handle the responsibility of being England's 'main man' at this summer's World Cup.

England's hopes of lifting the trophy are being pinned on the 20-year-old by many, but his Manchester United colleague Ferdinand insists he can handle the pressure.

'He (Rooney) is at the beginning of hopefully what will be a great career,' said Ferdinand. 'It's all a learning curve.

'The fans and the media are piling their hopes on him and putting a lot of pressure on him to be the main man, but if anyone's going to be able to shoulder that responsibility then it's Wayne.'