Ferguson backs Rio over WAG comments

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The Independent Online

Sir Alex Ferguson has backed Rio Ferdinand's assessment of the 'WAG' culture surrounding the England national team at the 2006 World Cup - but does not feel it will be a problem under Fabio Capello.

Earlier this week, Ferdinand described England's base at Baden-Baden as "a circus".

With high-profile wives and girlfriends photographed on a regular basis as they shared a hotel with the media who had travelled to report on the exploits of Sven-Goran Eriksson's team, the entire month seemed like one glamorous fashion shoot.

In the end, those images became more noteworthy than the England squad itself.

Ferdinand, named vice-captain by Capello following his appointment as Steve McClaren's successor, struck a chord with many by his considered verdict - and Ferguson feels the Manchester United defender was right.

"When I was reading about all these things, I did wonder about what impact it would have when all the players' wives were together," said the United boss.

"If Rio felt that was an encumbrance on the team, I am sure Fabio Capello is quite well aware of it."

Having family so close, for the entire duration of the tournament, may seem at odds to some with the professional approach required for England to reach their potential.

It seems unlikely Capello would countenance a repeat if, as has been reported, England base themselves at a plush hotel between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town should they reach South Africa 2010.

"To succeed in football, you must have a certain discipline and make certain sacrifices," said Ferguson.

"That has always been the case here."

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