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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 11, 2008

Neville and Fergie lavish praise on 'exemplary' Rio

Gary Neville is crossing his fingers that Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand is named England captain next week.

Fabio Capello is due to name his skipper ahead of the August 20 friendly with the Czech Republic at Wembley, with Ferdinand now edging past John Terry as favourite.

The United defender cannot have done himself any harm with a towering display against Portsmouth in the Red Devils' penalty shoot-out win in on Sunday's Community Shield.

And, while losing out to Terry - or anyone else for that matter - would be no cause for sorrow, Neville hopes Ferdinand gets the call.

'I would be delighted for Rio if he was made England captain,' said Neville.

'Obviously I hope it's Rio as he is a team-mate of mine and it would be great for the club.

'He is certainly the best defender in the club at the moment and it would be well deserved.

'But if it was one of the others then I wouldn't be too disappointed because the most important thing is to play and anything else is just a bonus.'

It seems bizarre to think Ferdinand could lead his country into battle yet only be third choice at United.

Neville has been named skipper, with Ryan Giggs acting as deputy, although Sir Alex Ferguson claims the decision is solely based on longevity.

Watching from the stands on Sunday, Capello must have been impressed by the 30-year-old's assured display.

Certainly Ferguson was.

'Rio is now the best centre-half in the world by far,' said Ferguson.

'That was an exemplary performance. He did not give one foul away and intercepted every ball that came towards him.

'He broke out of defence in comfort so many times it was unbelievable. He is a magnificent player.

'He is (almost) 30 now and because he has experience his potential is now being fulfilled in a big way.'

FA officials insist Capello has not informed them of a decision and Ferdinand is saying little either.

'I am sure we will find out in due course,' he said.

'Of course it would be an honour but my main concern at the moment is Manchester United.

'With England we will just wait and see.'

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