Rio Ferdinand must return warns Keown

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The Independent Online

Martin Keown does not believe Fabio Capello should have any hesitation in restoring Rio Ferdinand to his England starting line-up on Saturday.

Ferdinand has returned to the squad for the first time since he was controversially stripped of the captaincy by Capello, who handed the job back to John Terry.



Capello then compounded the problem by refusing to explain his reasoning to the Manchester United man, who declined the opportunity of a chat in public view within the Old Trafford directors' box.



The pair have spoken now though.



And Keown insists it should be the prelude to Ferdinand lining up alongside Terry in a competitive game for the first time since October 2009 when England face Switzerland in a Euro 2012 qualifier at the weekend.



"There is no argument at all about the fact Rio deserves his place in the team," Keown said, at the Millbrook testing plant of England sponsors Vauxhall, where he also took part in a Q&A session with local workers.



"He has had his injury problems. But he is very polished and is probably the most accomplished central defender we have at the moment."



Keown is certain Ferdinand will not be affected by the furore that accompanied him losing the armband, which is just as well given three points at the weekend are essential if England are to retain their status as favourites to advance from Group G.



"What has happened won't bother Rio at all," said the former Arsenal man.



"He has had long enough now to think about the situation.



"The way he found out wasn't ideal. He made his feelings well known at the time.



"Now, it is about moving on. It is about the team and supporting John Terry in the leadership he has suddenly acquired again."

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