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ENGLAND has been struck a blow before the World Cup has even kicked-off.

Captain Rio Ferdinand has been ruled out after suffering ligament damage to his left knee during England’s first training session in Rustenburg.

He was taken to Fearncrest Hospital after what coach Fabio Capello described as: “a nothing tackle” with striker Emile Heskey.  

Uncapped Tottenham defender Michael Dawson, 26, will replace Ferdinand in England’s 23 man squad and take the No. 5 shirt, with Steven Gerrard takes on the role of England captain.

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