Rio Ferdinand to ‘wait and see’ on England future
Rio Ferdinand must “wait and see” if he has an England future after creating more headlines by flying to Doha to commentate on his country’s World Cup qualifier with San Marino this evening.
Roy Hodgson would give no firm assurances on what lies ahead internationally for Ferdinand, who withdrew from the squad on Monday to follow a pre-planned fitness routine.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has often spoke of Ferdinand having to battle to overcome a back problem. But Ferdinand has now taken to the air to visit the Aspire training academy before appearing as a pundit for Al Jazeera television in the Gulf state for the San Marino match. It will involve a demanding 15-hour round trip for the 34-year-old player, who won the last of his 81 caps nearly two years ago.
When asked if Ferdinand has an international future, Hodgson said: “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.
“Once again, at the moment, it is speculation about the longer term future whereas my thoughts are on these next two games. I am happy with the squad I’ve got and the attitude and good feeling that exists amongst the players.”
Hodgson refused to comment on Ferdinand’s lengthy flight to Doha and back. He said: “It has got nothing to do with me. That’s the bottom line. I was disappointed he couldn’t take up our invitation.
“He was selected on merit and it would have been good to have him here because he has been playing well. But it wasn’t possible due to the fact he had to go through his programme of regeneration and keeping up his fitness there. I accepted that at the time and I accept that now so what he does in this two weeks is no longer my concern.
“Like I said, my concern actually is the players we have here. They are the ones I am focusing on and, right now, are important to me because they will take us through the next two games.”
Hodgson insists he has no regrets about how he has handled the events of the past ten days which saw Ferdinand selected for the first time since he took charge of England ten months ago. Ferdinand was not contacted directly by Hodgson before the squad was announced at a Wembley press conference a week ago, but then ruled himself out of contention on Monday.
Hodgson said: “No, of course I wouldn’t do anything different. I don’t know what I can do any different. Basically speaking, the idea of having squad announcements is to announce the squad you have selected.
“Basically, there are occasions when I communicate with players I’m leaving out of the squad, especially if they’ve been in before and I’ve got to put someone fresh in. It might have been naive, but I always believed people who are selected are going to want to be there and pleased to be selected and don’t need to be told in advance.”
Earlier, Ferdinand had defended his decision to fly to Qatar, posting on Twitter: “1) Flown out for some pre-planned down-time… with a bit of punditry thrown in for a game I would have watched anyway.
“2) No different from what I done on the past ten-day international break… Thank you guys. Haters are gonna hate… also assume everything – although it must be the gospel truth based on assumptions!”
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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