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Manchester United star's World Cup claim - I've beaten injury jinx and I'm ready to lead England

Upright, lean and rake-thin in a light grey summer suit, Rio Ferdinand strides into the room shaking hands and chuckling as he greets friends and wellwishers.

For a supposedly wounded, unfit crock who could jeopardise England's World Cup hopes, he appears to be uncommonly sprightly.

There are no discernible twinges of discomfort, no instinctive clutches at his troublesome back. In fact, the only hint of anything medical about his entrance is his footwear, which is so antiseptically white it must have been lifted from its box by carefully scrubbed hands just moments before he walked through the door.

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