Ferdinand slams Bentley boo-boys
Rio Ferdinand admitted the booing of winger David Bentley had 'left a bad taste in the mouth' after England's impressive 3-0 win over Israel in a Euro 2008 qualifier at Wembley. Bentley had angered England Under-21 coach, Stuart Pearce, after his late withdrawal from the squad for this summer's European Championships in Holland. And some of the England supporters were keen to express their disapproval when the Blackburn player came on as a substitute for the final 20 minutes against Israel. But Ferdinand believes the fans were wrong and their behaviour was the only downside of a win which put Steve McClaren's side back on course for next summer's finals. Ferdinand said: 'We had such a good performance and everyone was quite happy but what happened with David left a bad taste in the mouth. 'The lad is on England duty and you don't expect him to get booed, no matter what has happened in the past. 'In some quarters, people might say what he did in the summer was a wrong decision but in hindsight, it is easy to say that. 'He is a young lad, on a learning curve, making his seniors debut for England and he did not deserve to be booed.' Ferdinand praised the performance of recalled striker Emile Heskey, who linked up effectively with Michael Owen. Heskey was making his first appearance for his country since the Euro 2004 finals in Portugal and he created significant problems for the Israel defence. Ferdinand said: 'Emile was a big plus for me. He proved what a handful he can be. I've lost count of the number of chances he created. 'I was pleased for him because he has been out in the wilderness for a long time. He gets loads of stick, which has been a bit unjust. 'But he has got big shoulders and you could see what a talented and effective player he can be.' Midfielder Steven Gerrard insisted he would be fully fit for Wednesday's vital home game with Russia after raising initial concerns when he limped out of the action with 20 minutes remaining. Gerrard playing with a broken toe but revealed all he was suffering from today was a bout of cramp. Gerrard said: 'The toe is fine. All I had was a bit of cramp. I haven't trained much for the last two or three weeks. I will be a lot stronger on Wednesday for getting that 70 minutes in. 'The toe is healing well and that is behind me now. I didn't need a painkiller. 'I've got a few knocks and bumps but nothing that won't be sorted by Wednesday.' Gerrard believes England must repeat their performance against Israel - and even improve - if they are to overcome the Russians. He said: 'We had to get this job done but now we have to forget about it and get the mindset on Wednesday because it will be slightly tougher than today. 'It will be hard but we are confident we can improve on our performance today and may well have to.'