Alex Ferguson labels John Terry’s four-game FA ban as ‘quite lenient’

Sir Alex Ferguson thinks John Terry might consider himself to have got off lightly after being hit with a four-match ban by the Football Association this week.

Terry will decide his next move once he receives the written findings from the four-day independent regulatory commission hearing, after being found guilty of using racist language at Loftus Road in October. But Ferguson, who saw Patrice Evra and Luis Suarez end their own feud at Anfield on Sunday, feels Terry should think carefully before prolonging the matter.

“There is a danger of it resurrecting itself because it has been going on so long,” said the Manchester United manager. “But the fact he got a four-game ban, he may consider that is quite lenient considering Luis Suarez got eight. It is time to move on and so should the game.”

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In advance of the hearing, Terry confirmed he was quitting the England squad because he felt his position was “untenable”.

However, Ferguson does not expect Rio Ferdinand to be recalled to the England set-up, admitting it would be difficult for national team boss Roy Hodgson to bring back the Manchester United defender now after leaving him out of his Euro 2012 squad.

Ferdinand’s international future became the subject of speculation again following Terry’s shock decision to quit England ahead of his Football Association racism hearing.

Hodgson said he had left Ferdinand out of his Euro 2012 squad for “footballing reasons”, insisting it had nothing to do with Terry having been accused of racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother Anton during a Barclays Premier League game on 23 October.

United manager Ferguson does not see the position changing now.

“It’s entirely up to Rio, but I wouldn’t think he’ll get called up,” said Ferguson. “Roy made his decision for the European Championship and I can’t see him changing that. It would be difficult for him to go to Rio now and welcome him back.”

Ferdinand has said he would never turn his back on England, even if privately he believed his international career was destined to end on 81 caps.

“You never know,” said Ferguson. “But I think it’s difficult. I don’t know if Rio would do it – I haven’t asked him.”

Hodgson does have alternatives to Ferdinand. But Joleon Lescott and Phil Jagielka struggled when Terry missed the World Cup qualifier with Ukraine at Wembley earlier this month.

Gary Cahill was also in Hodgson’s squad, having missed out on Euro 2012 through injury, but only has ten caps, while Manchester United duo Chris Smalling and Phil Jones are both presently missing with foot and knee problems respectively.

Meanwhile, Terry could play for Chelsea against Arsenal today, coach Roberto Di Matteo said.

Terry was left out of the starting lineup for the league match against Stoke City last week but played the full 90 minutes in Chelsea’s 6-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers in the League Cup on Tuesday while his four-day hearing was still in progress.

“He trained as normal and he is available,” said Di Matteo.