Roy Hodgson apologises after telling fellow Tube passengers of Rio Ferdinand's omission from England squad


Click to follow
The Independent Football

Roy Hodgson has apologised to Rio Ferdinand after it emerged the England manager had told fellow passengers on the Tube that the Manchester United defender would not be selected for the England squad.

The decision to omit the 33-year-old for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland was confirmed this morning.

The fourth central defender berth available in the England camp following John Terry's international retirement has instead gone to Stoke City defender Ryan Shawcross.

The England manager was travelling to the Emirates Stadium to watch Arsenal's Champions League win over Olympiakos when he struck up conversation with a fellow passenger. It has been reported that Hodgson disclosed to the random member of the public that Ferdinand's international career is over.

Speaking today, Hodgson said that was not the case and that he was sorry about the incident.

"I have tried to get in touch with Rio today," said Hodgson.

"I am disappointed that a stray conversation has been reported in that way.

"I didn't say Rio's career was over. I might have admitted, foolishly I guess, and I only have myself to blame, that I wasn't going to choose him in this squad.

"I am just disappointed this could be seen as a lack of respect to Rio which is something I would shy away from.

"I have the utmost respect for him, as a person and a player.

"It is not for me to call time on anyone's career. I would never dream of calling time on anyone's career.

"It is up to an individual player to decide if he doesn't want to play anymore and when I speak to Rio I will make that very clear to him.

"But the bottom line is I am sticking to my guns.

"I am staying with the players I selected for the Euros and I am looking to the future."

Explaining the circumstances around his disclosure, Hodgson says he will learn from his mistakes.

"All I remember was that I was talking to quite a lot of people on the Tube and one guy said 'is Rio in the next squad?'," he said.

"I think I might have said 'I don't think so' and that is about as far as I went.

"But I shouldn't say that of course. It's a mistake and I need to apologise for it.

"This is one of the hazards I suppose of travelling on Tube trains when you go up to London and then speaking to people who ask me questions rather than sitting there tight-lipped refusing to ever open my mouth.

"I've paid for it and I will learn in future.

"Maybe this will be a lesson for all the people who see me on the Tube in future: please don't be too offended if I refuse to answer any questions you ask me."

As well as a call-up for Shawcross, Arsenal full-back Keiran Gibbs and Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who receives his first call-up to the England set-up, are also in the squad.

Tottenham's Steven Caulker had been tipped as the choice for the fourth defender role alongside Gary Cahill, Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka, but his selection yesterday for Stuart Pearce's Under-21s squad for the European Championship double-header against Serbia ruled that out.

Shawcross has been picked for only the second time, with the 25-year-old in the squad for the March 2010 friendly against Egypt, although then manager Fabio Capello did not play the Stoke City man.

Arsenal's Gibbs, who has two caps from friendly encounters against Hungary and France, has replaced Ryan Bertrand in the squad and has been rewarded for his excellent performances for his club this season.

Aaron Lennon also returns to the squad having not played for England since the 2010 World Cup.

Discussing Terry's decision to retire, Hodgson said today that there will not be an attempt at reconciliation.

"It's a hypothetical question," said Hodgson, when asked if he would consider Terry in the event he changed his mind.

"How can you pick someone in the squad if they have retired from international football? He has retired. Would I pick Bobby Charlton if he hadn't stopped playing for England?

"What I've said about John Terry, I stand by every word.

"I regret his decision but I respect it. I accept it and I move forward.

"I look at the other options available to me and keep my eyes firmly fixed on qualification for Brazil in two years' time."

The England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland is...

Hart (Manchester City), Ruddy (Norwich), Forster (Celtic); Baines (Everton), Cahill (Chelsea), Cole (Chelsea), Gibbs (Arsenal), Jagielka (Everton), G Johnson (Liverpool), Lescott (Manchester City), Shawcross (Stoke), Walker (Tottenham); Carrick (Manchester United), Cleverley (Manchester United), Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Gerrard (Liverpool), A Johnson (Sunderland), Lennon (Tottenham), Lampard (Chelsea), Milner (Manchester City), Walcott (Arsenal); Carroll (West Ham, on loan from Liverpool), Defoe (Tottenham), Rooney (Manchester United), Welbeck (Manchester United).