Rio Ferdinand has declared himself fit to play in England's World Cup qualifiers next month despite the after-effects of a calf injury that appeared to slow him down in the Champions League final. The Manchester United defender should join up with the England squad tomorrow night.
Ferdinand (below) was checked by the United medical department when he returned from Rome on Thursday and they have told England's team doctor Ian Beasley Ferdinand is fit to play in the games against Kazakhstan on Saturday and Andorra four days later.
The fitness of Ferdinand is a major victory for Fabio Capello who had feared mass withdrawals from his squad at the end of the season. He has four players in today's FA Cup final and is hopeful that once that game is over he will have available all 24 players named in his squad last weekend. The squad fly to Almaty on Wednesday morning.
Ferdinand missed United's four games before the loss to Barcelona. He is now set to be in an England squad that could be at full-strength apart from David James, Ben Foster, Stewart Downing and Aaron Lennon, and long-term absentee Owen Hargreaves.
Hopes that Wayne Rooney, Theo Walcott or even David Beckham could figure in a British Olympic side are expected to be dashed next week despite a deal being struck which should allow England to represent Team GB at London 2012. Fifa's Congress is expected to scrap current rules allowing three players of any age to be included in a team of under-23s.
The proposal, which has already been agreed by Fifa's executive committee, is that players must be under 21 with no over-age players allowed. That would mean a GB team in 2012 would have to be represented by players who are now eligible for the under-18s.