Defensive responsibility falls to Ferdinand in Terry absence

Rio Ferdinand can prepare to be England's defensive rock again after John Terry's injury added to Fabio Capello's woes.

And later today the Manchester United man will find out whether he will do so wearing the captain's armband.

Such is the nature of international football these days that, after arriving in camp on Thursday evening ahead of tomorrow's Euro 2012 qualifier with Montenegro at Wembley sweating on getting into Fabio Capello's starting line-up, Ferdinand is now the man holding everything together.

After losing Phil Jagielka to a hamstring injury aggravated during the first training session, Fabio Capello last night waved goodbye to Terry, who has succumbed to a back injury and returned to Chelsea for further treatment.

It leaves Ferdinand to almost certainly partner Joleon Lescott against the team who were drawn into Group G from lowly pot five but now appear the most likely to deny the Three Lions an automatic place at the finals to be co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.

For Ferdinand, the possibility also exists to reclaim the armband nominally handed to him by Capello in February after the Italian had stripped Terry of the honour, but which he has worn only twice in 10 internationals since.

Indeed, such has been the maturity with which Steven Gerrard has performed in the other eight, including all six competitive games of 2010, there are plenty who feel the Liverpool star should get the job full-time.

All will be revealed at lunchtime, after a final training session at Wembley.

One player who does not appear to have much to worry about is young goalkeeper Joe Hart, pictured having a raucous time during a short break in Spain last week but without having broken any curfew or, it seems, Capello's trust.

It may be a little reminder to Hart of how his life will be scrutinised as England's new number one although, for the moment, he is more interested in overcoming a Montenegro team who started their campaign by beating Wales, have already added Bulgaria and Switzerland to their list of scalps and could really create a headache for Capello if they avoid defeat tomorrow.

"Every single game is such a tough experience because we are always seen as a team that those below in the rankings want to beat and the ones who are higher are great teams anyway," Hart told www.thefa.com.

"Montenegro will want to keep the start they have had going and we want to do the same, so we are both pushing each other and it is going to be an intense affair."

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