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Rio Ferdinand will return to England team as captain

England midfielder Steven Gerrard has admitted that he is disappointed he will not be leading his country out against Montenegro at Wembley on Tuesday.

Gerrard was given the captain’s armband throughout the summer World Cup campaign and had retained it in the three games since, as a result of Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand’s continued injury problems.

The Liverpool talisman has been an integral part of the England team that has responded so well to the heartbreak in South Africa, by conjuring three straight victories since that crushing 4-1 defeat to Germany in Bloemfontein, which ended any hopes of winning the World Cup for the first time in 44 years.

He led the team admirably and scored both goals in the win against Hungary at Wembley and was among the stronger performers in England’s opening two European Championship qualifying victories against Bulgaria and Switzerland.

Gerrard’s significant improvement in his form at international level has coincided with the added responsibility of wearing the armband, and many feel as if Capello has made the wrong choice in automatically handing the captaincy back to Ferdinand.

However, Gerrard has vowed that he will not let the disappointment affect his performances for the three lions and insists that he fully understands the manager’s decision.

"I am disappointed I am not going to be leading the boys out," Gerrard told ITV 1.

"It has been a terrific experience. I have loved every minute.

"But I totally understood the situation from day one the reason why I became stand-in captain. Now Rio is back fit he gets the job."

The Liverpool skipper accepts that his performances have matured in an England shirt but believes that his form has improved for his country ever since Fabio Capello was appointed as Steve McClaren’s successor.

"Maybe it has been my best spell," admitted the 30-year-old.

"The boost you get when the manager says you are leading the team out and you are wearing the armband is massive.

"It certainly helps, although I would like to think my performances have improved anyway.

"I am really happy with how I played since the manager came in."

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