England’s preparation for next week’s World Cup has taken a major knock with the news that captain Rio Ferdinand has been ruled out of the tournament after suffering a knee injury in training yesterday.
Having escaped scares over both John Terry and Steven Gerrard in recent weeks, it seems that Fabio Capello’s good luck with injuries has finally run out and the loss of Ferdinand will be seen by many as a major set back to England’s hopes of winning their first World Cup since 1966.
Spurs centre-half Michael Dawson, who was emitted from the final 23 man squad named earlier this week has been drafted in as a replacement for the Manchester United defender, although it remains unclear as to who will take his place in the starting line up.
Ledley King is most likely to step into the breach, however it is improbable that the Spurs man will be able to feature as regularly as needed and so Capello must choose between Dawson, Matthew Upson and the recently recalled Jamie Carragher as to who else may be able to partner John Terry in the heart of the English defense. Given the importance of the Terry-Ferdinand partnership in Capello’s plans, his ability to reshuffle his pack at such an advanced stage of preparation will be a significant test of his managerial capabilities.
Ferdinand, given the captain’s armband in February following the John Terry – Wayne Bridge scandal, has been dogged by injuries all season and many pundits had expressed doubts over the likelihood of him being able to last the pace in South Africa given his semi occasional appearances for his club over the past 9 months.