Rio Ferdinand: England would WIN World Cup I was playing in my prime

Rio Ferdinand boldly claims England would WIN the World Cup if he was playing with this side in his prime… as question marks continue over Gareth Southgate’s back line in Qatar

  • Rio Ferdinand has said a prime version of himself would guide England to glory 
  • He backed Gareth Southgate’s squad, with him in defence, to win the World Cup 
  • However, he said in his current state, it would see the country eliminated early 
  • Follow our live blog for all the cover of England’s Group B opener against Iran
  • Read Sportsmail’s live blog with all the news as the World Cup continues
  • Click here for the latest World Cup 2022 news, fixtures, live action and results

Rio Ferdinand has claimed England would win the World Cup, if a peak era version of himself was still in the heart of the national team’s defence.

The former West Ham and Manchester United defender played 81 times for England between 1997 and 2011, representing the country at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

He even scored his debut international goal against Denmark in the last-16 of the 2002 World Cup in Niigata, Japan.

Rio Ferdinand has claimed this England side would win the World Cup if he was still in defence

In the build-up to this year’s event in Qatar, the pundit was asked questions by BBC reporter Liam Loftus, including how Gareth Southgate’s squad would fare if he was still involved.

John Stones and Harry Maguire are the centre-back partnership likely to face Iran in their opening match this time around, although England’s current defence has sometimes been questioned as its weak spot by some fans and pundits.

Ferdinand was asked: ‘How far would this England team get if you were in the heart of defence?’

He immediately replied ‘I think we’d win it’, adding ‘Prime Rio, we’re going to the final’.

John Stones and Harry Maguire are England’s current centre-back partnership of choice

Ferdinand claimed the current version of himself would only hamper England at the World Cup

The 44-year-old added: ‘You’ve got to back yourself in these situations. Everyone’s going to say that he’s got a big head. I’d say no, you have got to back yourself. If I said ‘Oh, I think we’ll get to the quarter-finals’. Pointless going. Do you know what I mean?’

When asked how the Three Lions would fare under his current state, Ferdinand said: ‘We’re going out in the group stages!’

Southgate’s current crop of players will be hoping to avoid the latter fate without Ferdinand’s help, beginning their Group B campaign against Iran on Monday.

Further group stage matches take place this month against the USA and Wales, which will decide if England will make the latter stages in December.

Gareth Southgate’s side face Iran, USA and Wales in the group stage of the Qatar tournament

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