|Saturday, 23 June 2012 20:18|
LONDON: Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand (pic) believes the current England squad are showing a special unity that he has not seen before, reported The Sun.
Ferdinand was left out of Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad amid fears of a fallout with potential defensive partner John Terry over the allegation that the Chelsea star racially abused Anton Ferdinand who is Rio's brother.
Terry denies the allegation.
And it has been argued that Ferdinand's absence has helped the team's cause due to a lack of discernible tension, and the current squad appear to be getting on just fine, summed up by some of the videos posted on the England FA's TV channel.
"He has been chosen as the leader by Hodgson when, before, I don't think managers properly trusted him as captain, even when they gave him the armband.
"Gerrard will know, like I did, that you can't have people being left on the fringes, not being included, and he has made a real effort to support all the players. He has more than 90 caps but this feels as if it is his defining moment in an England shirt.
"He has won the Champions League with Liverpool and, if he could help win the Euros for his country, that would be some double.
"He is leading by example, has had three assists and taken on all the responsibility really well. He wants to be the one the team relies on.
"The game against Italy won't hold any fears for him. In fact, nobody should be afraid of them."
Ferdinand feels England have nothing to fear against an Italian side that stumbled their way through the group stages, but insists they must be wary of Andrea Pirlo and Mario Balotelli.
"We are good enough to beat Italy and should go into it with confidence," he said..
"But we have to beware of Pirlo spraying those passes about. If he gets that chance, he can be very dangerous. And you never know just what you're going to get with Balotelli.
"There are times when he doesn't seem to be in the game at all. Then he just explodes and does something extraordinary."
England take on Italy in the quarter-final on Monday (2:45am).