The England captain, John Terry, is backing defensive partner Rio Ferdinand to regain his England spot after setting his sights on realising his "dream" of leading his country to a major tournament.
England will qualify for the Euro 2012 finals if they avoid defeat against Montenegro tonight. Terry will not have his long-standing colleague Ferdinand alongside him after the Manchester United was omitted due to doubts over his fitness.
But Terry is backing Ferdinand to bounce back and emulate Chelsea and England team-mate Frank Lampard, who has responded positively to being left out by club and country this season.
Terry said: "I am 100 per cent sure that Rio can come back. He has not been fully fit but when he plays he is still one of the best defenders in the world without a doubt.
"He is also still playing for one of the best clubs in the world. It is very much similar to with Frank. When he wasn't selected, people wrote him off and it's the same with Rio.
"But you can never write two world-class players off and Rio will be back in an England shirt. I'm sure of that. He is a world-class player and the players believe in him."
Terry was captain when England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 although a knee injury ruled him out of the make-or-break decider with Croatia.
Now he has the chance to lead his country into next summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine. "It is my dream to take the England side into a big tournament," he said. "That is my target. But the team is the main priority and we must get there, whether that is with a draw or a win."Reuse content