Rio is top man, says Simpson

WHILE Rio Ferdinand's appointment as England captain against France in midweek might have caught many on the hop, Blues defender Danny Simpson was not in the least surprised.

Derek Davis

By Derek Davis

WHILE Rio Ferdinand's appointment as England captain against France in midweek might have caught many on the hop, Blues defender Danny Simpson was not in the least surprised.

Simpson has played alongside Ferdinand at Manchester United and learned a great deal about him as a player and a man during his own years of development at Old Trafford.


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Ferdinand was handed the skipper's armband by Fabio Capello for England's 1-0 loss in France and Simpson was thrilled for one of his United team mate.

He said: “I was not surprised one bit. Even in training and when I have played with him I know he is a leader, a real communicator with players.

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“He makes other people's jobs easier and off the pitch his mental and physical preparation for games is exemplary. He is a real role model.”

Simpson dismisses those who point to Ferdinand's chequered past and say he should not lead his country.

He said: “Rio has overcome that stuff and has matured into a better person for it.

“Since all that he seems to enjoy his football even more and I hope he remains the England captain for the future.”

Others who have been particularly helpful in guiding him through United's ultra-competitive youth system and into the first team have been Gary Neville and Wes Brown.

Simpson said: “Gary has been injured a lot this season but every chance he has had to help me he has come on to the training pitch, stayed behind and all sorts to try and help me out. He has been one if the best right backs in the world for a long time and if you can't learn from him then you can't learn from everyone.

“With Rio it is how he prepares for games and Wes because he is a local lad and helped me out with dealing with all sorts of things.”

After signing a new three-year deal in January, Simpson is regarded as Neville's long-term replacement, especially if Brown carries out his threat to leave Old Trafford.

Simpson said: “It is nice to be compared to Gary but I'm young and still have a lot to learn and by coming to Ipswich I hope to learn more.

The 21-year-old defender is expected to make his full debut at Portman Road this afternoon against QPR, probably at the expense of David Wright.

Magilton said: “It is about round pegs for round holes and he is a right back.”

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