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Man Utd defender Ferdinand facing England captaincy axe

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is set to be dumped as England captain.

The Mail on Sunday says Ferdinand is likely to lose the England captaincy this week - with Fabio Capello refusing to confirm the defender's return to the squad will come with his reinstatement as skipper.

Steven Gerrard has filled in impressively on and off the pitch since Ferdinand's absence at the World Cup, notably in the two most recent qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland, and Capello is now considering making him captain on a permanent basis.

Ferdinand has been stripped of the captaincy at Manchester United because of his continuing back injury problems.

He has played just six of the past 22 England games due to injury and missed the World Cup finals after injuring his knee in training.

Capello said: "I think Sir Alex Ferguson decided to choose a player that played more games [Nemanja Vidic], who he could be sure will be fit. It is important that the players have to be fit for a lot of games. I will decide the captain after seeing which players are fit. I haven't decided."

Capello will now keep both players guessing and is only likely to make a decision after the players meet up at Watford on Thursday.

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