Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has told critics of Fabio Capello to lay off the under-pressure England manager.
Capello has been subjected to widespread criticism from fans and pundits in the aftermath of England's disappointing performances at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa.
The Italian has been made the main scapegoat for England's second round exit and there is little sympathy for his claims that he has learnt from the experience and will make changes for the UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying campaign, which gets underway with matches against Bulgaria and Switzerland in September.
One English newspaper even mocked up an image of the former AC Milan and Real Madrid coach which had him pictured with donkey ears under the headline 'jackass' after he decided to leave Arsenal's Jack Wilshere and Newcastle's Andy Carroll in the England under-21s despite promising to bring in young players to the senior side.
But Ferdinand, who missed the finals in South Africa due to injury, is adamant Capello isn't to blame for the team's failings. "We qualified in great style. The media people and those in the know who were saying he's 'Don Fabio' now have changed course," England captain Ferdinand said on Wednesday.
"We didn't play well at the World Cup, we know that. But it doesn't make him a bad manager. A lot of people are jumping too far and too quick," he went on. "He needs to make some big changes in the squad but who are we to argue? We just do what he wants us to do. It's about England winning, not us as individuals."
Capello made a failed attempt to persuade Manchester United's veteran midfielder Paul Scholes to come out of international retirement before the 2010 finals and is believed to be keen to make another approach to the 35-year-old.
Scholes has belied his age by starting the season in fine form and United team-mate Wayne Rooney hopes he will change his mind about playing for England again. Rooney told Sky Sports News: "He is one of the best players in the country, a fantastic player. "It's his decision and Fabio Capello's whether he wants to try to pick him. It's down to those two - but I'd like to see him playing."