Rio Ferdinand to answer England's call despite Sir Alex Ferguson's fitness concern
United manager admits to misgivings about his defender playing up to four games in 11 days
Rio Ferdinand faces the possibility of playing four games in 11 days for England and Manchester United, a factor that Sir Alex Ferguson claimed has to be considered before the defender accepts his recall to Roy Hodgson’s squad.
Ferdinand, 34, is anticipated to answer Hodgson’s call, fitness-permitting, and, despite his various grievances about his treatment by the current manager, still wants to play for England – he said in an interview last month that if selected he would “pack my bag and go straight there.”
However, Ferguson said yesterday that the defender’s fitness and the management of his problems, which have related to his back and groin in the past, had to be closely monitored. England play San Marino in Serravalle on Friday and then Montenegro in Podgorica four days later with Ferdinand only expected to play in the second of the two games.
Nevertheless, Ferdinand could be in a position where he plays against San Marino and Montenegro, Sunderland two weeks today and then the FA Cup sixth-round replay against Chelsea two days after that.
There is understood to be some misgivings on the player’s side that the Football Association did not tell him earlier than Thursday’s squad announcement so that he could re-adjust his treatment schedule. The FA, however, was in an impossible situation and well aware that the news would likely have leaked had it told Ferdinand before Thursday.
Asked about Ferdinand’s inclusion in an England squad for the first time since August 2011, Ferguson said: “I think he has to make sure he is okay in terms of the number of games he has played. That’s a factor. Rio is considering that and we will see what the outcome of that is. Obviously, I was as surprised as anyone when I heard that [he was in the squad].
“I need to speak to our doctor. We prepare Rio in certain ways, he has certain treatments to go through, certain procedures, which have given him fantastic performance levels when he has played for us. We have to consider that. We have been doing it for two years and it works.”
There are also injury concerns over the Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon, although those have receded since he was involved in Spurs’ Europa League second leg game against Internazionale on Thursday night. Hodgson’s medical staff are anticipating some withdrawals, hence the original squad numbering 26 rather than the usual 23.
The England team will train for the first time together on Tuesday, at St George’s Park, before flying to Italy on Thursday and then travelling to Serravalle where they will train on the pitch that night. Leighton Baines, who is expected to play against San Marino to give Ashley Cole a rest before the Montenegro game, said yesterday he was satisfied with the development of his international career.
“It has been a positive 12 months for me,” he said. “I was 25 when I first came into the England squad. Maybe it took me a bit of time to accumulate any experience, or get any kind of caps just because there is such a good player in the same position as me. But I just try and do my own thing. The rest is down to the manager.”
Latest in Sport
New day (slowly) rising – As Brasileirão gets underway, Brazilian football stumbles, rather than leaps into the future
The average Serie A crowd last year was 13,000 - comparable to Australia’s A-League.
by James Young
24 May 2013 04:31 PM
Monaco is a street circuit where driver ability is more important than anywhere else and if we take ...
by Gareth Purnell
24 May 2013 02:00 AM
Three weeks ago as I drove off the Eurostar, I remember thinking what a very long time it was until ...
by Martin Ayres
23 May 2013 05:29 PM
Why Manchester City were willing to fork out $500m on stake in MLS
Champions League final: Biggest German invasion since the fifth century as Borussia Dortmund face Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund v Bayern Munich: 50 things you should know about the Champions League final
Champions League final preview: Bayern Munich v Borussia Dortmund
Champions League Final: Can Jürgen Klopp and Borussia Dortmund stop the Bayern Munich machine?
- 1 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 2 Rocky Horror star Tim Curry 'suffers major stroke'
- 3 Exclusive: How MI5 blackmails British Muslims
- 4 EDL marches on Newcastle as attacks on Muslims increase tenfold in the wake of Woolwich machete attack which killed Drummer Lee Rigby
- 5 Farewell, Shameless. Your heirs have work to do
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.