Rio backs Rooney to captain England
10:22am Wednesday 30th July 2014 in © Press Association 2014
Rio Ferdinand is backing Wayne Rooney to be the next England captain, insisting the striker has the experience and influence to succeed in the role.
Former skipper Steven Gerrard announced his retirement from international football after the World Cup this summer and manager Roy Hodgson is yet to announce the midfielder's successor.
Joe Hart and Gary Cahill are also expected to be considered but Ferdinand believes Rooney, who has 95 caps for his country, is the right man for the job.
"I think Wayne has grown and he is growing into that role," said Ferdinand, who captained England for 13 months from February 2010.
"He's experienced now, he has played at the top level and he's won a lot of things.
"He knows the game. He's got the right tools for that. And I think you have to look at who is going to start."
Rooney has scored 40 goals for the Three Lions since making his debut as England's youngest ever player against Australia in February 2003.
The 28-year-old's underwhelming performances in Brazil this summer came under heavy scrutiny but he answered some of his critics with a second-half goal in the defeat to Uruguay.
"You look at other countries, the natural progression would be Wayne getting it now," Ferdinand continued.
"With other countries it's usually the guy with the most caps, or who is most influential.
"And I think Wayne is the most influential player that England have got at the moment, now Steven has gone.
"It would seem like a natural progression."
With Gerrard gone, the pressure on Rooney to deliver will only increase but Ferdinand believes wearing the armband should not be a burden.
"With the captaincy, especially in England, we maybe go a bit overboard on it," Ferdinand added.
"You need as many leaders out on the pitch as you can get.
"You need people to lead by example, not just on the pitch but off the pitch. Hopefully we have got a few in there that can do that."
Ferdinand retired from international football in May 2013, opting to focus instead on his club football.
The 35-year-old, who joined QPR this summer, says the decision has prolonged his own career and believes Gerrard will reap the rewards too.
"If I had not done it, I would have been retired already - that is the plain bones of it," Ferdinand said.
"Steven Gerrard will realise that he will be able to play on to a higher level for the next two or three years.
"That is what happens when you stop playing international football.
"I did not know I could recharge my batteries like this and feel as fresh as this through having a break at certain points."