Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anton Can Be a Legend - Hurley

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Anton Can Be a Legend - Hurley

Article excerpt

Byline: STUART RAYNER.

FIVE years ago, as he started out on his professional career, many English observers would have predicted that, by 2008, Anton Ferdinand would be an England regular, writes STUART RAYNER.

Instead, the central defender spent last week training with Sunderland still awaiting his first call-up to the full Three Lions squad but the Black Cats' greatest ever centre-half believes the 23-year-old has found the perfect club - and manager - to help fulfil his international ambitions.

The Londoner finally cut his ties with West Ham United this summer after accepting he needed to leave the club who handed him his league debut in 2003 to further his career. Sunderland legend Charlie Hurley believes Ferdinand has made the right choice.

Hurley made 401 appearances for the Wearsiders between 1957 and 1969. He was voted the club's player of the century in 1979 and "the King", as he is known, by fans is still regarded as the best player ever to wear the red-andwhite stripes.

The 72-year-old believes Ferdinand has all the attributes to become a top defender, and in Roy Keane he has a good man to teach him.

"If he turns out to be half as good as me he will be a great player!" joked Hurley.

"Centre-halves don't need telling how to play but I personally think anyone coming to Sunderland is going to get someone who knows about the game as their manager, and they will get discipline. You will get it off the field too because a few of them have crossed swords with Roy already and there has only been one winner."

Ferdinand won 17 caps for England Under-21s between 2004 and 2007 but it was his former Hammers team-mate Matthew Upson who Fabio Capello turned to against Kazakhstan on Saturday when a back injury ruled out John Terry. In the Chelsea defender's absence, Ferdinand's older brother, Rio, captained England in the 5-1 win. …

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