Roy Hodgson hopes Tube gaffe won't lead to Rio Ferdinand's retirement
England manager says sorry to Ferdinand, and announces call-ups for Shawcross, Forster and Gibbs
Roy Hodgson said yesterday that he hoped his disclosure to Tube train passengers on Wednesday that Rio Ferdinand had been left out of the England squad again would not cause the Manchester United defender to call time on his international career.
The England manager apologised to Ferdinand for telling Tube passengers who spoke to him on Wednesday that the 33-year-old would not be in the squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland – which was passed on to newspapers. Hodgson said he would contact Ferdinand to apologise personally but denied saying that the defender's international career was over.
Ferdinand sent a message to Hodgson last night accepting his apology, although the two have not spoken directly. "To find out he's been excluded in that way, I'm disappointed with," said Hodgson. "I'll give him my sincere apologies. I respect the man and I respect the player. I am looking forward. He didn't feature in my plans for the Euros [this summer]. Since then the players I have used have done well for me, and I'm sticking with those players.
"I'm trying to rejuvenate the squad. If Rio is still interested after what he might regard as an insult – it wasn't intended as such, and he may turn his back on us even if we don't on him – when I call him it would be directly to play in the team. Not just as part of the squad."
Hodgson announced yesterday that he had called up the uncapped Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross, who was in one of Fabio Capello's squads more than two years ago but did not feature in a friendly against Egypt. The Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster was brought into a senior England squad for the first time and there were recalls for Arsenal left-back Kieran Gibbs and the Tottenham Hotspur winger Aaron Lennon, who has not played since the 2010 World Cup finals.
Hodgson also said that Carl Jenkinson, who has played at right-back for Arsenal this season in the absence of Bacary Sagna, could be in line for a call-up for the friendly against Sweden on 14 November. "He's on our radar and someone we're keen to explore," he said.
With Chris Smalling and Phil Jones injured and John Terry having retired from international football, Hodgson said that there was a chance Michael Carrick could be co-opted into playing at centre-back if the situation demanded. "We've got Michael Carrick in the squad who can always go back there in a game where you've got more of the ball than the opposition," he said.
The thinking behind the exclusion of Ferdinand, who will be 35 in the summer of 2014, remains Hodgson's resistance to taking players who will be in their mid to late 30s by the World Cup finals that summer and not first choice. It was pointed out to him that Frank Lampard, who will turn 36 during the next World Cup, is still in the squad and will be captain against San Marino at Wembley a week today with Steven Gerrard missing through suspension.
He said: "I don't have a hard and fast policy. When a player loses his place in the team after 100 games, he might not want to be a squad member. It might not even be a decision I have to take. At the moment, Frank is in the team and doing well at Chelsea."
Hodgson said that he believed the decision of Terry to retire from international football was "irrevocable". Hodgson said: "I regret his decision, of course. He did a great job in the short time I worked with him, and played well for me. But he's made his decision. It's a decision that's irrevocable as far as he's concerned, so all I can do is wish him well in his Chelsea career."
England squad for World Cup qualifiers
To play San Marino next Friday and Poland on Tuesday 16 October:
F Forster (Celtic) 24/0
J Hart (Man City) 25/24
J Ruddy (Norwich) 25/1
L Baines (Everton) 27/11
G Cahill (Chelsea) 26/10
A Cole (Chelsea) 31/98
K Gibbs (Arsenal) 23/2
P Jagielka (Everton) 30/14
G Johnson (Liverpool) 28/42
J Lescott (Man City) 30/23
R Shawcross (Stoke) 25/0
K Walker (Tottenham) 22/3
M Carrick (Man Utd) 31/24
T Cleverley (Man Utd) 23/3
S Gerrard (Liverpool) 32/98
A Johnson (Sunderland) 25/12
A Lennon (Tottenham) 25/19
F Lampard (Chelsea) 34/93
J Milner (Man City) 26/33
A Ox-Ch'lain (Arsenal) 19/7
T Walcott (Arsenal) 23/29
A Carroll (West Ham) 23/5
J Defoe (Tottenham) 29/51
W Rooney (Man Utd) 26/76
D Welbeck (Man Utd) 21/11
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