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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Feb 4, 2008

New England regime like 'first day at school' for Rio

Rio Ferdinand believes working under the new England management regime is 'like going to a new school'.

Fabio Capello takes charge of his first match as England coach on Wednesday, when Switzerland visit Wembley.

And Ferdinand is enjoying his first taste of life under the Italian, and his backroom staff.

The Manchester United defender explained at a press conference televised by Sky Sports News: 'It's like going to a new school - to a secondary from primary.

'You're intrigued, excited - all those things are bubbling under and you want to see the new ideas and methods he has got.

'We're all like schoolkids, sucking up all the information he's got in a bid to make us a better team.

'We had a session this morning which went very well and was very enjoyable.

'We were put through our paces and are looking forward to the next one.

'Inevitably there is going to be a difference - there are different cultures and hopefully we can get a good blend.

'But the new manager has new ideas and hopefully the knowledge and success he has achieved can make us a successful team.

'People are expecting too much in terms of massive change - but football's quite a simple game if you stick to the basics.

'We haven't been successful so we are open to any new ideas of the manager and will implement them in the game.'

Ferdinand believes Capello has not had any problems getting his message across, despite initial concerns about how well he spoke English.

The former West Ham and Leeds player continued: 'I've been pleasantly surprised.

'He's talked to us as a team on and off the training ground in English and was very good.

'He's very observant and puts his point across when he needs to. He knows what he wants and he puts it across very, very well.'

Ferdinand also believes the England squad are determined to use a lack of familiarity with the Italian as an opportunity to improve their international prospects.

He explained: 'The new manager has worked with a couple of people but not coached the rest of us before so it's a chance for all of us to hit him between the eyes and make sure we become a part of his current plans.'

On the captaincy issue, he said: 'John Terry is captain now and has been a fantastic captain for club and country.

'But ask anyone up here if they wanted to be England captain and if they say they didn't they'd be lying - being captain is a fantastic achievement for anybody.

'But if we can get 11 leaders out there when they are playing it's more important than just the one person. The team ethic will be part of us becoming a successful team.

Ferdinand had no opinion on whether his former United team-mate David Beckham should be in Capello's squad.

He said: 'We stand by whatever the manager says - he's there to pick the squad. We've got no opinions on who should or shouldn't be in the team.

'David has had a lot of adverse situations in the past and a lot of ups and downs in career - but he's come back fighting and stepped over those challenges.

'He's a very talented footballer - but the new manager will pick the team he thinks is best for the time and we stand by those decisions.'

Ferdinand believes the Wembley crowd will respect the minute's silence for the victims of Munich ahead of Wednesday's game.

He said: 'I'm sure the fans will respect it - it's a poignant moment and we've got fantastic fans in this country.

'It's not just about Manchester United, it's about English football as well.'

On the game itself, he added: 'We owe the fans and ourselves a lot.

'We've flattered to deceive for a few years and not produced what people expect us to produce - and we need to put that right.

'We're on a journey towards the World Cup and we need to make sure we are well equipped.

'I expect a hard game - coming to Wembley gets an extra 10-20% out of teams and it's an opportunity for Switzerland to beat England at the start of a new regime. We'll do our utmost to get a positive result.'

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