Rio fit for Macedonia match
By Phil Jackson. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
England defender Rio Ferdinand has travelled with the England squad to Macedonia and should be fit to play in the Euro 2008 qualifier on Wednesday.
The Manchester United centre back missed The Three Lions' 5-0 demolition of Andorra on Saturday because of a bruised toe sustained for his club in the Premiership win over Watford.
But Steve McClaren has now confirmed the 27-year-old could well make his return in place of club team-mate Wes Brown at the heart of England's defence.
"In terms of Wednesday's game, I am pleased to say that Rio took part in, and came through, the full training session today with no problems," McClaren told the FA's website.
"He will be travelling with us and we expect him to be fine to train again in Macedonia on Tuesday."
And the £30 million man is determined to make up for the team's World Cup disappointments in Germany, as he looks to juggle his family life with his footballing commitments.
"I had all summer to mull over it and over what was right, what was wrong," Ferdinand confessed.
"Now the season has started and I am focused on Manchester United and the European Championship qualifying campaign with England.
"It's about forward thinking, not backward thinking. I've also become a father.
"Obviously football is in my blood and always will be. My life has always revolved around it.
"Now though, I have a baby and a family and my life is going to revolve around them. I'll enjoy balancing the two."
But the news is not all rosy for England, as McClaren has also been hit by injuries to Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Chris Kirkland and Charlton Athletic full back Luke Young, who have both been left behind.
"While that is great news on Rio, we have unfortunately lost Chris and Luke," he added.
"Chris woke up at home on Sunday morning with a stiff back and was not even able to travel down to join up with us in Watford.
"It is a real disappointment because Chris has started the season so well and was excellent when he came on against Greece.
"We are not calling another goalkeeper into the squad as we have already got Paul Robinson and Ben Foster.
"However, Scott Carson, who is with the Under-21s in Switzerland, is on standby.
"Additionally, as a precaution, Luke Young is not travelling to Macedonia as he has had an ankle problem which has persisted for a few months."
Wigan boss Paul Jewell has thanked McClaren for his decision to send Kirkland back to his club, of the view that it was the right option for all parties.
"England did the right thing by letting him stay at home, and we thank them for that," said Jewell.