Ferdinand defends under-fire Capello

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The Independent Football

Rio Ferdinand today came to the aid of under-fire England head coach Fabio Capello and insisted the Italian does not deserve the stick he is getting.

Capello has been heavily criticised following England's disappointing performances in South Africa and the Football Association's decision to keep him in charge of the team.

The criticism culminated in Capello being portrayed in one newspaper this morning as a jackass, pictured complete with donkey ears, for leaving Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and Newcastle's Andy Carroll in the England under-21s despite promising to bring in young players to the senior side.

But Ferdinand said: "We qualified in great style. The media people and those in the know who were saying he's 'Don Fabio' now have changed course.

"We didn't play well at the World Cup, we know that. But it doesn't make him a bad manager. A lot of people are jumping too far and too quick.

"He needs to make some big changes in the squad but who are we to argue? We just do what he wants us to do. It's about England winning, not us as individuals."

Bizarrely, given his stated desire to bring in young blood, Capello is expected to clarify whether Manchester United's veteran midfielder Paul Scholes wants to return to the England set-up after the 35-year-old admitted he regretted not going to South Africa.

Wayne Rooney is one player who hopes his Manchester United team-mate does change his mind.

Rooney told Sky Sports News: "He is one of the best players in the country, a fantastic player.

"It's his decision and Fabio Capello's whether he wants to try to pick him.

"It's down to those two - but I'd like to see him playing."