Ferdinand pledges his support to England despite snub

Rio Ferdinand last night pledged his support to England’s Euro 2012 campaign despite the controversy that has surrounded the Manchester United defender’s continued absence from the squad.

Ferdinand’s camp reacted furiously on Sunday night to the former England captain again being overlooked following the enforced withdrawal of defender Gary Cahill, who suffered a fractured jaw during Saturday’s Wembley defeat of Belgium.

Rather than call Ferdinand, 33, into the squad, England manager Roy Hodgson selected inexperienced Liverpool defender Martin Kelly, prompting Jamie Moralee, Ferdinand’s long-time friend and business partner, to accuse the new manager of “a total lack of respect”. Debate over the decision has been raging, but Ferdinand last night insisted he would be fully supportive of the team in Ukraine and Poland.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He tweeted: “Just so we dont get it twisted ere....i’ll be in a pub somewhere supporting England this summer! Love the lads!”

For Hodgson, though, the issue will just not go away and he will face yet more questions at the first available opportunity after England arrive at their Krakow base tomorrow. On initially selecting the squad, the former Liverpool and West Brom manager dismissed Ferdinand’s absence as being for “footballing reasons”.

However, many felt there were concerns about Ferdinand’s ability to get along with John Terry in light of Terry’s impending court case for alleged racist remarks to Ferdinand’s brother Anton in a match at Loftus Road in October. Terry denies the charge against him. Sunday’s decision to pick Kelly saw Ferdinand tweeting “what footballing reasons???” before Moralee’s damning verdict. “Lampard, Terry, Barry, Gerrard; all ageing but they go to the tournament,” he said. “Why is Rio different? To treat a player that has captained and served his country 81 times [in this manner] is nothing short of disgraceful. [It’s a] total lack of respect from Hodgson and the FA as far as I am concerned.”

On Friday, Hodgson had bemoaned the loss of 143 caps’ worth of experience in Frank Lampard and Gareth Barry, who have both been ruled out through injury. Now he finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to explain how Ferdinand, with such vast experience, is being ignored on football grounds in favour of someone who made just 12 Premier League appearances for Liverpool this season.

Meanwhile Hodgson could have become Northern Ireland manager in 2007, former Irish Football Association president Jim Boyce has revealed.

Hodgson, appointed Fabio Capello’s successor as England head coach on 1 May, was a contender to replace Lawrie Sanchez five years ago but was ruled out by his commitment to Finland. “When Lawrie Sanchez resigned and went to Fulham there was a possibility that Roy could have ended up as Northern Ireland manager,” said Fifa vice-president Boyce. “At that time he was manager of Finland and obviously he had to finish his contract with Finland, which didn’t expire until November of that year. But the rest is history.”