Rio Ferdinand declared fit for Croatia

Defender Rio Ferdinand has been declared fit and is available for England's crucial World Cup qualifier with Croatia in Zagreb tomorrow evening.

The England vice-captain returned to training yesterday after missing the 2-0 win over Andorra in Barcelona at the weekend with a neck problem.

And head coach Fabio Capello is happy that the Manchester United star will be 100 per cent ready for the clash with Slaven Bilic's side.

Capello said: "Rio is fit for the game and it is good to have him available because he is a leader and an important player."

Ferdinand is set to return in place of Joleon Lescott after the Everton defender did not have one of his most assured games against the part-timers of Andorra.

Ferdinand's experience of the big occasion will be crucial with England aware of the need to avoid a repeat of the 2-0 defeat they suffered in a Euro 2008 qualifier in the same stadium two years ago.

Capello declared a clean bill of health for his squad to leave him with several selection posers to mull over.

He has to decide whether to recall David Beckham in place of Theo Walcott and also has to weigh up if Joe Cole, the two-goal hero against the Andorrans, should return to his first XI.

The Chelsea player, who admits his best position would be operating behind two strikers, has been on the bench for the past four games.