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By ESPN Staff

Sir Bobby backs 'world class' Rio for captain

Sir Bobby Robson believes Rio Ferdinand would be 'a clever choice' as England captain.

Fabio Capello will choose his skipper ahead of Wednesday's friendly international against the Czech Republic.

Former England manager Robson believes John Terry and Ferdinand are the obvious candidates - but believes Manchester United defender Ferdinand would be a shrewd selection.

He explained: 'My instinct would be for John Terry because he is the type of naturally courageous player who leads his team-mates by example. But Rio Ferdinand, so much more mature than five years ago, would be a clever choice for another reason.

'You feel Terry will give 100% whatever the game, whatever the weather, whatever the circumstances. 'But Ferdinand might find an extra 10% in his game by being captain.'

Robson, speaking in the Mail on Sunday, explained: 'I've noticed with Ferdinand the bigger the stage, the better he plays. He was outstanding in two World Cups but lost concentration in lesser games.

'By giving Ferdinand the responsibility of leading his country out, you almost guarantee world class performances from him.'

Robson, now 75, wants Capello to be more attack-minded than they were under the Steve McClaren regime.

He added: 'I still remember the negative 5-3-2 that cost us last time we went to Croatia. This time let's not be intimidated by the opposition and play two strikers.

'For that to work in qualification, it has to be tried against the Czechs. If Wayne Rooney is still not 100% because of his virus, maybe Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe should be given a chance as club-mates at Portsmouth.

'I don't know what the situation is with Rooney - but I'd like to see him at the England team hotel for some of the time, even if he isn't needed to play.'


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