ENGLAND captain Rio Ferdinand has leapt to Fabio Capello’s defence, insisting the head coach’s critics have been too quick to turn against him.
Capello was widely depicted as the steely general England’s cosseted underachievers needed during an unerringly successful march to the World Cup finals.
But his stock has fallen off a cliff following a disastrous tournament in South Africa, and his decision not to step down only appears to have enraged his detractors further.
The Italian’s popularity in the Press plummeted to a new low yesterday when one newspaper portrayed him as a donkey – complete with photoshopped ears – alongside a scathing report on his latest squad selection.
“You don’t become a bad player overnight and I don’t think all of a sudden our manager became a bad manager overnight,” said Ferdinand, who missed the World Cup through injury and will not return for several weeks.
“Before the tournament he was the best thing since sliced bread, we qualified in great style. All of these so-called people in the know were saying he is the Godfather, Don Fabio and what-not.
“Now they have changed course. Yes, we didn’t play well at the tournament, no-one is getting away from that. But that doesn’t make him a bad manager overnight, and I think a lot of people are probably jumping the gun.”
Capello has come under renewed fire this week for dropping youngster Jack Wilshere and overlooking the claims of Andy Carroll and Jack Rodwell, despite pledging after the World Cup to blood new talent.
All three have been named in the Under-21 squad, meaning they will miss the senior team’s first Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria on 3 September.
But Manchester United defender Ferdinand added: “It is up to him who he picks and who he feels is right for the squad.
“If he sees it right to make changes, who are we to argue as players? We are just out there to go and do a job.
“It’s all about England winning, it is not about individuals. And if that means some people have to be disappointed by being dropped, so be it.”