Ian Herbert: After years of indignities, Rio Ferdinand deserves England call-up

The absence of a call from Wembley this time really would defy any rationale

Rio Ferdinand will not be making the telephone call which signals to Roy Hodgson that he is still where he always was, ready and willing to be pressed into duty for the 82nd time for England. But it is almost beyond the bounds of belief that he should be willing to receive one either, such are the multitude of indignities that have been visited upon him by the national side in recent years.

There was Roy Hodgson's talk on the Tube, of course – the manager telling punters as they all rattled along the Jubilee Line together that it was over between Ferdinand and England – though it was the elevation of Martin Kelly, a 22-year-old Liverpool full-back, to the position in England's squad created by Gary Cahill's broken jaw on the eve of last summer's European Championships which took more coming to terms with.

"What reasons?" Ferdinand asked at the time, having been overlooked a second time, although even in the "good" times of recent years minor discourtesies have gone with the territory. Ferdinand discovered via a television set that Fabio Capello had made him his captain, after John Terry was consumed by the Vanessa Perroncel saga in February 2010.

"He does things a certain way," Ferdinand said of Capello at the time, which seemed mighty generous. It was 13 months later that the Italian reinstated Terry and expected Ferdinand to seek him out for an explanation in an Old Trafford hospitality box. Would any other sport treat a captain this way?

The absence of a call from Wembley this time really would defy any rationale, though. We have reached the key staging post in England's World Cup qualifying campaign, when much of the conjecture boils down to containing Mirko Vucinic, the Juventus striker, in Podgorica, two weeks tonight.

The options are thin. Cahill did not look big on confidence for Chelsea at Old Trafford on Sunday, Joleon Lescott has played seven games this calendar year, Terry is out of Chelsea's picture, Phil Jagielka and Chris Smalling are injured.

And all the while Ferdinand has been making the case that, while now a player whose fitness requires management, he can contend with most that is thrown at him: Real Madrid and Chelsea in the space of five days, for example. His partnership with Jonny Evans was strong for much of United's FA Cup quarter-final with on Sunday. Evans looked less assured as the game shifted towards the away side in the second half. Ferdinand was ordered and calm.

His indefatigability asks searching questions of those, like Alan Hansen, who want to write off his England days. But it was hard to imagine Gary Neville not making the case for his return yesterday, as he, Hodgson and Ray Lewington surveyed a vital week.

There would be loss of face for Hodgson in returning to one whom he has so often looked beyond and that is something which many in football struggle with. Tell Ferdinand about it. It seems he is about to be passed over yet again and you wonder whether this time will be the last.

PROMOTED VIDEO
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.

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz