Roy Hodgson on Rio Ferdinand's flight to Qatar: I'm not interested in Rio or what he is doing

England manager focuses on players with squad as doubts increase over Manchester United defender's international future

San Marino

Rio Ferdinand's international future was once again in doubt after the Manchester United defender opted to fly to Qatar to work as a television pundit having pulled out of tomorrow night's World Cup qualifier against San Marino citing fitness issues.

The England manager, Roy Hodgson, whose side play the mostly amateur San Marino side, said that he would have to "wait and see" whether he picked Ferdinand again having brought him in from the cold last Thursday after 19 months out of the squad for the Manchester United defender.

Meanwhile, Ferdinand defended his decision to work as a pundit for Al Jazeera and take a 15-hour round trip to Doha having told Hodgson on Sunday night that his self-styled "intricate" fitness programme precluded him from playing in the World Cup qualifiers tomorrow night and against Montenegro on Tuesday.

Sensing that he was about to be drawn into yet another controversy over Ferdinand, Hodgson went into defensive mode claiming that he did not regret picking the player in his original 26-man squad and that Ferdinand's decision to go to Qatar was "his business".

The England manager refused to confirm or deny whether Ferdinand had mentioned his proposed pundit's role when the player travelled to London on Sunday to explain why his fitness regime prevented him from playing in the two qualifiers. It is understood that the offer from the television network might have been made after the two men met.

 

Follow all the action from tonight's match LIVE by clicking here.

Speaking to television crews, Hodgson said: "I'm only interested in the players I've got here," and could not say whether Ferdinand would be selected again. "I think we should wait and see. It's more a question of whether his injury situation will impact upon him playing for England. We will have to wait and see what happens in the future."

Later, in his press briefing, Hodgson said that Ferdinand's decision to go to Doha was "not my business, quite frankly". He said: "It's not my business to interfere with an individual player and his club. I don't think this is the right moment in time for me to be discussing Rio and what's happened now and what will happen in the future.

"I want to concentrate on these two matches and the players I'm working with. They deserve my respect as well. They're here. They want to be here and to do a good job."

Earlier, Ferdinand, aware of the criticism of his trip, had tweeted from Doha that he would be getting treatment at the Aspire academy in Doha and that the trip was "no different" to what he did on any other recent international break. His final tweet was: "Haters are gonna hate... also assume everything... although it must be the gospel truth based on assumptions!"

On the conversation between the two men on Sunday, Hodgson said: "I'd prefer that conversation to stay between us. It was good we had a chance to talk face to face and for him to explain the situation, but I don't want to discuss what was and what wasn't discussed. I'd hope he'd make the same answer."

The England manager confirmed that Gary Cahill has not recovered in time to be able to rejoin the squad ahead of Tuesday's game against Montenegro. He also said that Michael Carrick is not under consideration to play as an adapted centre-back with the likely pairing tomorrow night being Chris Smalling and Joleon Lescott.

Hodsgon also waved away suggestions that Arsenal had used the international break as a rest period for Jack Wilshere who now looks likely to play against Reading next week. "I have no evidence for that," he said "He's injured and that's unfortunate. We're disappointed he isn't with us because, on merit, he'd be picked and would play. But injuries occur."

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy