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Feb 10, 2009

Rio: England must learn from Capello's experience

Rio Ferdinand has revealed the England squad are growing in confidence with every game as they continue to learn from Fabio Capello - and defended David Beckham after accusations he is picking up cheap caps.

After the most successful calendar year for 37 years in 2008, England head into Wednesday night's friendly against Spain in Seville without fear and Ferdinand has insisted the players must continue to learn from Capello if they are to have a chance of winning the World Cup in South Africa.

"There is a confidence in the team that we are going in the right direction,'' said the Manchester United defender. "The manager has got a winning mentality and his record speaks for itself.

"Each time we meet up, the lads are seeing why he has been such a winner in club football. We need to suck up all that experience and hope it puts us in a position to win something with England.''

Beckham will match Bobby Moore's record for an outfield player of 108 England caps should he feature against the European champions, and is also awaiting his 100th start for the Three Lions.

Some have questioned the validity of Beckham breaking Moore's landmark due to the number of substitute appearances he has made under Capello, but Ferdinand is in no doubt that the midfielder, currently on loan at AC Milan from Los Angeles Galaxy, remains a vital figure for his country.

"I don't understand why people argue against him,'' said Ferdinand. "It's just because it's Becks. He has become such a big personality in the entertainment world, so people think he doesn't deserve it.

"But you do not play for Milan, Manchester United and Real Madrid without being a good player. He's been through five or six England managers, so he must be doing something right.

"There's no taking away what Bobby Moore was - an icon of English football who lifted the World Cup. Becks going past his record will not detract from that.''

Ferdinand insists England's players are not planning to walk off if they suffer the same racist abuse endured on the last visit to Spain.

"You don't plan stuff like that,'' said Ferdinand. "It is not something we have discussed over lunch or at training.

"Samuel Eto'o walked off. That was his own reaction, his point of view. You have to be in that situation before you make a decision like that. You can't say, 'I'll do that if this happens'.

"If anything like that does occur, it will be dealt with after the game. I don't want to get too holed up on the idea of racism and what happened in the past. A lot was said after the event four years ago and we would rather not dwell on it.

"We would hope football does the talking but in today's age, it is surprising that we're talking about things like that.''

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