Racism fears don't faze Rio

2010-03-15 15:54
Not fazed (Gallo Images)

Watford - England defender Rio Ferdinand has said the prospect of being racially abused by Spanish fans would not put him off his game during Wednesday's international friendly in Seville.

England's last match on Spanish soil, in Madrid in 2004, was overshadowed by the sound of some home supporters making monkey noises any time one of England's black players came near the ball.

As a result, Wednesday's match has been moved to Seville.

Ferdinand, speaking at England's team hotel on Monday, said: "It (racism in Spain) doesn't really faze me. As players we are there to play football. Whatever the sideshow is it's in the background.

"What we are there for is to try and put in a good performance and win the game. It's as simple as that," the Manchester United centre-back added.

"It's not even in my mind. It's not something we think about or discuss over lunch or at training."

Ferdinand, 30, said he was far more concerned about how England would fare against European champions Spain.

England didn't qualify for the 2008 European Championships in Austria and Switzerland but, under Italian manager Fabio Capello, have since won their opening four qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

"It's a massive test," said the 72-times capped Ferdinand. "We all know the qualities of Spain, they won the European Championships.

"You only have to look at the names on their team sheet and it is full of quality. They have some of the best players in Europe, if not the world.

"But you don't fear playing anybody. We play for England and we know we can beat anyone on the planet."

Former Manchester United midfielder David Beckham could equal Bobby Moore's record of 108 caps for an England outfield player on Wednesday following a successful loan spell with Italian giants AC Milan.

Ferdinand, who played alongside Beckham at United, said: "I've seen him at Milan and he looks as though he is enjoying his football. He has a zest about him and talking to him since he's been here he is having the time of his life.

"Just to get to 100 caps is an unbelievable achievement, but then to be able to equal Bobby Moore's record is phenomenal," added Ferdinand, who made his name at West Ham, the London club where Moore spent most of his playing days.

"Long may it continue."

At the other end of the spectrum, Aston Villa winger James Milner could make his senior England debut on Wednesday after regularly appearing for the Under-21s.

The former Newcastle and Leeds forward has played a prominent role in Villa's rise to third in the Premier League table but he credited his success to the stability he'd found with the Midlands side, managed by Martin O'Neill.

"I think it's helped massively to be at a settled club," Milner said.

"At the clubs I've been at before there's been a bit of distraction off the field, changing managers and that, which doesn't help.

"Moving to Aston Villa, the set-up is very good. From the top right the way through. That helps you play your best football because you don't have to worry about anything else."


WRAP: English Premiership

2015-03-04 00:30


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