Sir Alex Ferguson has assured Rio Ferdinand that he remains in line to lead Manchester United despite missing out on the England captaincy. England coach Fabio Capello chose John Terry ahead of Ferdinand to become the new national team captain on a long-term basis ahead of England's 2-2 draw with the Czech Republic on Wednesday. Ferguson said however that he would hand 29-year-old Ferdinand the United captain's armband once Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs were no longer around. 'The way I operate is through seniority,' Ferguson told reporters. 'That's why Gary Neville is captain and when he's not playing Ryan has taken over. If Ryan is not available then Rio stands in. 'In the long-term Rio will be captain, no question about that. I'm very comfortable with that. 'His qualities of leadership have improved tremendously over the last two or three years and ability-wise, it is there for all to see.' Ferguson said the selection of Terry ahead of Ferdinand for the England job was not a major issue and will not have a bearing on Ferdinand's form or state of mind. 'It was always him or John Terry and it was the flip of a coin,' he said. 'It could have gone either way. I am sure it was a close call. 'It's not a reflection other than a personal choice and John Terry has been captain of Chelsea for quite a while and that has to go into consideration. 'It was the manager's choice to go for John Terry so he (Ferdinand) will just get on with it. It's straightforward. He should not be worried about the effect of that.' Meanwhile, Ferguson has given Mikael Silvestre's move from Manchester United to Arsenal his official seal of approval saying: 'I could have been selfish and put Mikael in the reserves but we are bigger than that.' Silvestre knew he had no United future at the end of last season. At that point he asked Ferguson's permission to leave and the United boss was happy to let the 31-year-old get on with it. 'Mikael said he wanted first-team football,' said Ferguson. 'He had lost his position to Patrice Evra, so, after nine years' service, there was no point holding the boy against his will. 'He is a really nice lad and a great professional, so I more or less let him conduct his own affairs. 'We knew the price we wanted and informed the teams who came in for him. 'He went up to Sunderland last Friday, and was very positive about that, then Manchester City came onto the scene. 'He was halfway through his medical when Arsenal came in. We have no complaints with the deal at all.'