END OF THE ROAD
Rio Ferdinand’s omission from England’s Euro 2012 squad appears to have signalled the end of his international career.
He described his reaction to the blow as being “gutted”, but went on to wish the England side well in the tournament. He spoke about representing England in the past tense giving strong indications that his international days are behind him.
Ferdinand has been included in England’s last four World Cup squads was left out of Hodgson’s first squad and will now end his career having never played in a European Championships.
Hodgson and England seemingly had a straight pick between Rio Ferdinand and ex-captain John Terry, despite Hodgson’s insistence that the decision was not made because of the ongoing court case regarding John Terry’s alleged racist comments to Rio’s brother, Anton Ferdinand. Hodgson insisted that the decision had been solely a “footballing” one and the inference was that he did not feel Rio could continue to perform at a high enough level for the England set up.
Steven Gerrard was given the captain's armband.
He tweeted his response to the news saying “Absolutely loved playing for England...to say I’m gutted is an understatement of the highest order”. Those do not sound like the words of a man who has aspirations to play for his country again.
Hodgson had to spend large amounts of his press conference talking about Ferdinand and was clearly becoming irritated by the continuing theme of the questions from the press. “Are we still on Rio Ferdinand? Are we ever going to get off the Rio Ferdinand subject?” Was the new England bosses response to the persistent questioning form the nation’s press. He had been keen to talk about the players he was taking and tried to put the subject to bed saying “I selected John Terry for footballing reasons and left out Rio Ferdinand for footballing reasons”.
No doubt the judgement of Hodgson’s handling of the affair will be based solely on whether England have an acceptable tournament.