2010 FIFA World Cup: What Does Ferdinand's Injury Mean To England's Campaign?

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2010 FIFA World Cup: What Does Ferdinand's Injury Mean To England's Campaign?
Michael Regan/Getty Images

During England's first training session at their state of the art Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus, Rio Ferdinand twisted his knee in a challenge with Emile Heskey.

A scan confirmed that Ferdinand, England's captain, will miss the World Cup.

This is a big blow to England's campaign. Ferdinand is one half of a very experienced centre back combination, the other half being John Terry.

This means that Capello has now lost two captains in the run up to the World Cup. At least John Terry will still be on the pitch and can still be a commanding presence.

The changes in captaincy will have created a turbulence within the squad that Ferdinand's successor and Capello will have to address.

This successor is Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool captain is experienced; he has 80 caps, the most of any player in the squad.

Gerrard also has plenty of experience as a captain, having led Liverpool for a number of years. Despite this, Ferdinand's experience will be missed.

Ferdinand will be replaced at centre back by Ledley King. He is undoubtedly a quality player, but he is injury prone and Capello can't afford to lose another defender.

Michael Dawson has been called up to the squad to replace Ferdinand. He has never played international football and Capello showed no desire to use him during the warm up matches with Japan and Mexico.

This doesn't suggest that Capello has much confidence in the Spurs star, despite his excellent season. There is no suggestion that he will play a prominent role in the campaign.

Another option is Jamie Carragher, who has been tempted out of international retirement by Capello. This preparation, typical of Capello, could prove vital.

Carragher can provide cover at both centre and right back. He is experienced at both club and international level, and in terms of knowledge, he is a good replacement for Ferdinand.

However, he isn't at the same level as Ferdinand in terms of match performance. Ferdinand may have had an injury-ravaged season but he is still a "World Class" defender.

Carragher isn't. He hasn't had a particular good season with Liverpool either.

Ledley King didn't put in an outstanding performance in the friendlies, but then again nobody did. He has been outstanding for Tottenham in the later half of the season and has been playing more football than he would normally.

This extra amount of football can be seen as either a good or bad sign. It could indicate that he can handle more strain than he could before. Equally, it may suggest that he is on the brink of a serious injury.

Either way, Ledley King needs to step up to the plate. He has big shoes to fill, but King is as good as a replacement as England could hope for.

Ferdinand's injury could also impact morale. Whilst Capello was quick to crush this possibility, Ferdinand's 78 caps mean his sudden departure will be a shock to the squad.

Even Capello could be affected. He has relied on the Terry-Ferdinand combination and the breaking of the partnership will annoy him.

Similarly, Terry will have to get used to a new partner. Terry and Ferdinand had built a relationship that allowed them to become one of the best defensive combinations in international Football.

Ferdinand's injury weakens the team and means that the roles of the senior players, Beckham included, are more important than ever.

The good news is that Barry appears to be improving fitness wise. Capello will be hoping that this can counter the departure of Ferdinand.

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