World Cup 2010 - Dawson trains in South Africa
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He joined the rest of the squad at the Royal Bafokeng training complex for training on Saturday.
Fellow central defenders Matthew Upson, who complained of feeling unwell overnight, and Ledley King did not train.
Goalkeeper David James did join proceedings after missing out on Friday due to a minor knee injury.
Tottenham central defender Dawson happily abandoned his holiday plans to be part of the squad after being called up by England head coach Fabio Capello.
The 26-year-old was axed from the provisional squad of 30 for the tournament on Tuesday by Capello, but is now in the 23-strong party after Ferdinand was forced out with a knee ligament injury suffered in training on Friday lunchtime.
Dawson told Tottenham's official website before flying out: "I was planning to watch the first game of the tournament with my friends and family, but now I'm going to be there for real.
"Things can change in a split second. One minute I'm trying to arrange my holiday, then I get a call asking if I was on holiday because Rio had pulled out of training.
"I said 'no' and then I was just waiting by the phone before getting a call saying I would be picked up in an hour. It's been a crazy day."
He added: "I'll be going out there still having not yet won a senior cap, so where better place to get one if that was to happen""
Dawson has immense sympathy for Ferdinand but is determined to try to seize his opportunity.
He said: "For Rio to get injured, there would be no worse feeling for him as a player. To miss the biggest tournament in the world as the captain, I feel for him.
"I missed the Carling Cup Final in 2008, and there was nothing anyone could have said to me that could have made me feel any better.
"For Rio, the feeling will be the same, but it's a chance for me now."
Dawson, who was Tottenham's player of the year, added: "I've not had time to think about it but I've had call after call with people wishing me good luck.
"I'll just go there and train like I do every day at Spurs and we'll have to see what happens."
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