Leading England out as captain against Montenegro will allow Rio Ferdinand to bury the memory of the darkest days of his career.
The Manchester United defender has been officially named as Fabio Capello's skipper for Tuesday's Euro 2012 qualifier at Wembley after recovering from the knee injury he sustained in the build-up to the World Cup.
Ferdinand was first appointed as captain in the wake of the decision to demote John Terry in February, but his much-publicised fitness problems delayed him fulfilling the role.
Vice-captain Steven Gerrard deputised at the World Cup and in the opening Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland, leading to a surge of support for the Liverpool star to remain as the on-pitch leader.
However, Capello has decided to stick with his selection of Ferdinand and the centre-back admits that leading England out in London will come as welcome relief after months of disappointment.
He told a press conference shown live on Sky Sports News: "It has been well documented that the first 48 hours after I got injured at the World Cup were probably my worst moments in terms of over-analysing and really thinking about the consequences.
"I have worked hard on my rehab, worked hard on the training ground at Manchester United, and the staff have been fantastic for me to get to this point.
"To miss the World Cup was a real big disaster for me. But you have to wipe yourself down and get on with it."
Ferdinand added: "It is a great honour to be named England captain.
"It is great to be back playing again. Obviously, I've been out for a while since the World Cup when I injured my knee.
"But to come back now and to be named as the captain is fantastic.
"I must say, though, that Stevie (Gerrard) has been the captain since I've been out and has done a fantastic job."
Ferdinand also insists that there is no friction between himself and Gerrard after their battle for the captaincy.
He said: "We are both professionals, both mature, both very experienced players.
"We knew it was between us to be the captain and if it had gone the other way I would have shaken his hand and said, 'good luck'. I'm sure that's the way it is."
It had been debated whether Ferdinand would be forced into retirement by his injury nightmares, but he insists he does not feel under specific pressure to prove he is fit.
"I think that is always the case when you come away with England," he said. "The manager is there analysing you physically and mentally and you have got to perform.
"That is what he (Capello) has brought to the squad, an intensity in the training, and this time is no different to before."
Is Fabio Capello right to give the England captaincy back to Rio Ferdinand?