Ferdinand seeks cure for Danish hangover

Tomorrow's World Cup qualifier against Wales gives the England centre-back the chance to atone for a humiliating defeat against Denmark. By Sam Wallace

David James paid the price for his part in the four goals conceded against Denmark on 17 August but, dissolving in the face of an unspectacular Danish attack, the defenders in front of him did not cover themselves in glory either. Against Wales in the World Cup qualifier tomorrow, the focus will switch naturally to Ferdinand, England's most senior centre-back who, by his own admission, sets his standards high and the conditions of his employment even higher.

Before Copenhagen, the 26-year-old had only just brought to an end the protracted and controversial negotiations over his future at United by signing a four-year deal when he was suddenly confronted with the possibility that his new status as Old Trafford's highest-paid player might coincide with his exclusion from the England team. It was serious enough for Eriksson to be in contact with the player to assure him that, however bad it was against Denmark, he was not facing exclusion.

"I had a chat with the manager to get a clear picture about stories in the papers [about being dropped]," Ferdinand said. "He's talked about our conversation and he told me he would tell me if he thought I should be left out or wasn't doing the job he wanted.

"I don't think I had a good game against Denmark by my own standards. I set my own standards very high and that was nowhere near them. It would have been difficult for the manager to single individuals out publicly. You do that behind closed doors. He's never done it publicly in the past and I don't think he would start now.

"Watching the video hit it home and showed us first-hand what the manager wasn't happy with. We fully agreed. We were disappointed and embarrassed at the performance and it's something you don't want to be involved with."

Frank Lampard has made the ascent to senior professional, Steven Gerrard too, yet it is still difficult to place Ferdinand at quite the same level. Just when he convinced United fans that he had earned his right to be regarded as the indispensable element of their defence last season, following his eight-month suspension for a missed drugs test, the issue of his contract exploded this summer. No one could overestimate the trauma of his ban but for Ferdinand, this season, and the World Cup that follows, is crucial to his legacy as a footballer.

"There is a hangover from a defeat like Denmark - ask any player about when they've had a bad game, it's still in there somewhere in the back of your mind," Ferdinand said. "When you get a good performance in the following game it puts it to rest a bit, but it's still there and it still hurts because you don't want to lose 4-1 to anybody whether you are playing for your country or your club.

"It's something we want to rectify when we play in the next game against Wales because in terms of the press and our own personal embarrassment it can all escalate and you don't want it on your conscience when you are playing football. You get a bad result - it is a natural reaction to want to go out the next time and do well.

"I think that is the reaction you will get from the team on Saturday. It's good we are playing again so quickly because the wounds are still open. They are still there and it is not so long ago we played that match."

In defence of Ferdinand, ever since he agreed a new contract with United on 8 August his performances have been peerless for his club side, not least the handling of Alan Shearer, who was restricted to just one shot in the 12th minute at St James' Park on Sunday. Ferdinand has also become Wayne Rooney's closest friend at United - a relationship that has caused a degree of concern at the club but will be a good test of whether the senior player can help guide his team-mate through the pitfalls of celebrity that await.

Ferdinand says that he is at his "happiest when we keep a clean sheet" and tomorrow he will be in charge of a forward who helped to shape much of his early career at West Ham. The Wales striker John Hartson would, Ferdinand said, "elbow, kick and head-butt me" - and that was just in training.

"I used to be up against him every day but it was a good upbringing for me, I enjoyed it," he said. Facing down the old Celtic warhorse is as good a way as any to atone for the defeat in Denmark.

Suggested Topics
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
news
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick