Sport

He can still perform: Sol Campbell backs Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand for England comeback

By Paddy von Behr

Rio Ferdinand may have been overlooked again by Roy Hodgson, but his old partner Sol Campbell thinks the Manchester United defender can still do a job for England.

Ferdinand’s last appearance for the national team was in June 2011 – a 2-2 draw with Switzerland in a Euro 2012 qualifier at Wembley.

But Campbell, who created a formidable defensive partnership with Ferdinand, is wary of replacing the old guard while they still have a lot to offer.

“He has shown he can still perform – that’s the main thing,” he told MM.

“I’m all for new players coming in but if they’re not showing it, balance it out with some mature players.”

Despite the quality of youngsters available, Campbell believes the 34-year-old would have already quit England if he was no longer good enough.

“It is difficult to play international football, back down to domestically,” he added. “Mentally and physically it takes a lot out of you.

“Usually the mature player knows when to say ‘that’s enough for me’, because they don’t want to make themselves look silly on the pitch at international level.

“That natural thing will happen to players who have done both for such a long time – players know when to say ‘right that’s it, I’m just going to play for my club.’”

As for United’s younger crop of defenders, he told MM Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are in the perfect place to become top players for club and country.

“They’re lucky to be at the right club,” said Campbell. “I’m sure they know how lucky they are and appreciate the position they are in at Man United.

“For young players, you can’t be in a better place really because the manager knows how to protect you and move you forward.

“I think they have still got much more to learn.

“I’m sure with Rio and Vidic they will learn a lot and they should listen to them because those two guys will make them players.”

Campbell was speaking at the launch of the National Football Museum’s ‘Strike a Pose’ exhibition, celebrating 50 years of football and fashion.

Picture courtesy of Wiki Commons, with thanks.

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