Rio: Spain friendly an acid test for England

WATFORD - England will be able to judge how much they have improved under coach Fabio Capello after Wednesday's friendly against European champions Spain in Seville, said defender Rio Ferdinand.

England's resurgence under the Italian has been reflected by four wins out of four in their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign and a 2-1 friendly victory in Germany in November.

"Every game we find out where we are but playing against probably one of the best two teams in the world at the moment, we have to make sure we put in a good performance and acquit ourselves in the right way," Ferdinand told a news conference on Monday.

"It will give us a good yardstick as to how far we have come since the new manager has come in."

Ferdinand said Capello, appointed in 2007, had filled the squad with a "confidence we are going in the right direction.

"He has a winning mentality and his record speaks for itself. The lads are seeing each time the squad meets up why he has been such a winner in club football," said the central defender.


England's last friendly in Spain in 2004 was marred by racist chanting when several black players in the visiting team were subjected to monkey noises from the crowd during a 1-0 defeat at the Bernabeu in Madrid.

Ferdinand said it was time to move forward.

"A lot was said after the event and we do not want to dwell on it," he said. "As players we are there to play football whatever the sideshow is.

"It's not something we discuss over lunch or in training. We are there to put in a good performance and try and win the game, simple as that."

Ferdinand's former Manchester United team mate David Beckham has been recalled by England and looks set to equal Bobby Moore's record of 108 caps for an outfield player.

Beckham has shone in a loan spell with AC Milan and Ferdinand said playing in Serie A with such a good team had rejuvenated the former England captain, who has said he wants to join the club permanently from Los Angeles Galaxy.

"Speaking to him in training today he seems to be bouncing again. He's talking about who he is training with (at Milan) and he's delighted to be playing football again in Europe," said Ferdinand.

If Beckham passes 1966 World Cup-winning captain Moore's record it would not diminish the late defender's achievements, Ferdinand said.

"Bobby Moore was an icon of English football, Becks going past his record will not diminish anything he's done," said the Manchester United player.

"He lifted the World Cup, the only man to do that for England."

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