Former England and Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand was left out of Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad for this summer's EURO 2012 competition and is expected to soon announce his retirement from international football.
Speaking to journalists about his decision to omit Ferdinand, despite what has been a stellar season for the 33-year-old at Manchester United, Hodgson said that his decision was based solely on football reasons. Furthermore, he said it had nothing to do with Chelsea captain John Terry's presence on the team, who is due in court over allegations that he used racial slurs against Ferdinand's brother. Terry has denied the charge.
I selected John Terry for footballing reasons and I left out Rio Ferdinand for footballing reasons. I've spoken to both of them of course. I had to do that. He [Rio] was obviously disappointed. I'd be surprised had he not been. He was very gracious and he wished myself and the team the very best of luck in the tournament.
There is a feeling in some quarters that the decision to not pick Ferdinand may have been influenced by none other than Sir Alex Ferguson, Ferdinand's manager at Manchester United. Reports say that the United manager had doubts about Ferdinand's ability to play multiple games in a short period of time.
Addressing this, Hodgson clarified that he had spoken with Sir Alex:
I had a private conversation with Sir Alex 10 days ago. I think Rio has done exceptionally well this year. He's played a lot of matches through injury. He's got himself on the field of play when many a player wouldn't have done so.
I'm also wary of that because I know there have been times in the season where Rio has played three matches in a week. I would be lying if that [the ability to play matches close together] was the major reason for not selecting him. It was purely on other footballing reasons.
Subsequently, there have been a number of reports that claim Ferdinand may call time on his international career .