Rio Ferdinand signals England career is over after being dropped for Euro 2012
Thursday 17 May 2012
Rio Ferdinand appears to have brought down the curtain on his England career.
The 33-year-old was left out of Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad yesterday, a decision which the new manager insisted was made purely for footballing reasons.
Given his age, long-standing back problems and the emergence of players such as Manchester United team-mates Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, who missed out on selection due to injury, there seems to be no way back for Ferdinand.
It is a realisation the defender seemed to admit on Twitter last night, as he spoke of his international career in the past tense.
"Absolutely loved playing for England," he said. "To say I am gutted is an understatement of the highest order."
Hodgson repeatedly insisted the decision had nothing to do with the potential for conflict between Ferdinand and John Terry, who has been selected.
Nor did he blame United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's observation last week that the £29.1million man was unable to play twice in four days due to his back complaint.
"Are we ever getting off Rio Ferdinand?" said Hodgson.
"There are 23 men in the squad and yet we're discussing one man until the cows come home.
"The football reasons are quite simple. I wanted seven defenders, with Phil Jones in the squad. I decided on my three centre-backs and Rio wasn't one of them.
"I admire Rio Ferdinand, I respect Rio Ferdinand, but, as a football coach, you have to make decisions."
It is bound to be galling for Ferdinand that he misses out while Terry will be central to Hodgson's plans despite facing a court case this summer over the allegation he racially abused the United defender's brother, QPR's Anton Ferdinand.
Not even the possible scenario of the FA having to protest against any racism experienced by players and supporters in Ukraine, while at the same time having Terry in the squad, could deter Hodgson from including the Chelsea skipper.
"There's no doubt that the issue of racism in Ukraine is a concern for us all, not least the supporters who go over there and risk maybe getting beaten up, or if they happen not maybe to be white, subjected to a lot of abuse," said Hodgson.
"But I'm convinced that John Terry is a person who will be able to handle these matters.
"Basically, I wanted to take a group of players that gives us a chance of doing well in the tournament.
"John Terry has played a major part in helping Chelsea to the Champions League final - even if he did something stupid in the semi.
"Things happen in football, and we've got a better chance of winning the tournament if he takes the form he's been showing to the finals."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
Latest in Sport
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more
Germany vs Argentina World Cup final 2014: Five reasons why Argentina will win the World Cup
Thomas Vermaelen to Manchester United: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger thwarting Louis van Gaal over transfer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 final preview: German team ethic tests Lionel Messi's ability to meet the challenge
World Cup 2014: Robin van Persie appears to give his bronze medal to eccentric Netherlands fan moments after being handed it by Sepp Blatter
- 1 Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
- 2 Comfortable in their own skin
- 3 Japanese plant experts produce 10,000 lettuce heads a day in LED-lit indoor farm
- 4 War is war: Why I stand with Israel
- 5 L'Oreal cuts ties with Belgium supporter Axelle Despiegelaere after hunting trip photographs