On the day that Rio Ferdinand announced his international retirement, England manager Roy Hodgson revealed that he is considering asking Wayne Rooney to captain his country against Ireland and Brazil.
Unlike Ferdinand, Rooney's Manchester United future is uncertain, but Hodgson is a big admirer of the forward, who will will be joined in the squad by Andy Carroll.
Hodgson has been in contact with Rooney, showing him support and reminding him that he is central to England's plans.
"He has captained England against San Marino and in Qatar (against Brazil)," Hodgson said. "I know he enjoyed that experience and I am pretty sure there are times when he will captain England again.
"There are rumours circulating about whether he wants a move, whether Manchester United are prepared to sell him. I'm sure it will all get sorted out between them and that it won't affect me.
"I've spoken to him. I was concerned because his wife Coleen is having a baby not long before we meet up. But he was at great pains to assure me that he was really looking forward to playing for England, that it's something that's top of his agenda, and that's enough for me.''
Hodgson is also considering Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole, depending on fitness and jet-lag after their post-season trip to the USA with Chelsea. Hodgson will ask Chelsea defender Cole whether he is interested in being captain for one of the games, marking his recent 100th cap.
Carroll makes an anticipated return. United's Phil Jones and Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are both in the squad, which will be announced today.
Ferdinand, meanwhile, confirmed the end of his 81-cap England career, having told Hodgson of his plans in a cordial telephone call yesterday.
"At 34, I feel it is right for me to stand aside and let the younger players come through, which allows me to concentrate on my club career," he said.
"The team looks in great shape and there is an influx of young, talented players coming through the ranks which bodes well for the future." (© Daily Telegraph, London)