Terry and Ferdinand: Roy Hodgson Set to Play Marriage Counselor for England

Will Tidey@willtideySenior Manager, GlobalMay 2, 2012

RUSTENBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 04: Rio Ferdinand and John Terry share a joke during the England training session at the Royal Bafokeng Sports Campus on June 4, 2010 in Rustenburg, South Africa.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Rio Ferdinand may have to choose between family loyalty and his own ambition this summer if England's new manager, Roy Hodgson, decides his former defensive partnership with John Terry is the one wanted at Euro 2012.

At his unveiling at Wembley yesterday, Hodgson announced his intention to try and heal the rift between the two menโ€”sparked by the allegation against Terry that he racially abused Ferdinand's brother Anton during a Premier League match in October last year.

Here's what Hodgson had to say, as per BBC Sport:

I'll have to get in touch with John and Rio to speak with them, hopefully face to face, and find out where they are in this situation.

Until such time as I've spoken to them and found out where they stand in relation to the situation, it would be wrong of me to comment. And not just those two. I'll have to speak to as many senior players as I can.

Terry faces a Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) charge that he committed a "racially aggravated public order offense" during the match between Chelsea and QPR at Loftus Road in October. His case been adjourned until July 9, however, leaving Terry free to represent England at Euro 2012 if selected.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28:  John Terry of Chelsea prepares to defend a corner with Anton Ferdinand of Queens Park Rangers during the FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth Round match between Queens Park Rangers and Chelsea at Loftus Road on January 28, 2012 in
Clive Mason/Getty Images

Though Terry denies the charge, the FA stripped him of the England captaincy in Februaryโ€”a decision then manager Fabio Capello was vehemently and publicly opposed to, a stance that played a defining role in his departure from the job.

But it's now clear the FA will not stand in the way of Hodgson selecting Terry as part of his squad to travel to Poland and Ukraine this summer.

What seems unthinkable, however, is the notion that Terry might rekindle his longstanding defensive partnership with Ferdinand for the tournament.

Here's what Ferdinand had to say about the alleged incident between Terry and his brother Anton, as per the Daily Telegraph in February:

Anton is my little brother. We have grown up together and I looked after him when we were kids.

If something is going to affect him and hurt him, I am always there as a shoulder to lean on. In moments like this, when things are so public and you canโ€™t really say anything, it can be frustrating.

For my family, yes, it has been tough. At the end of the day, my brother has not brought any accusations to anyone. He is not the accused. But he has had to sit there and take abuse from some small-minded people, which has been very disappointing.

And then there was the tweet that followed the announcement Terry's trial would be put back until after Euro 2012โ€”and appeared to suggest Ferdinand was angered by the decision.

But here's Ferdinand's dilemma. At 33, his days at the highest level are numbered and Euro 2012 will surely represent his last opportunity to play in a major tournament for England.

For a while it appeared he'd be overlooked regardless of the fallout from the Terry racism affair.

When Stuart Pearce took temporary charge of the England team he didn't even pick Ferdinand for his squad, but with Hodgson's appointment comes real hope of reviving his international ambitions.

Ferdinand will feel he has a point to prove to the people who have written him off, both on England duty and with Manchester United. And if he really is coming to the end of his career, the lure of potential glory with England, however slim the possibility, will be very, very hard to resist.

Let's not forget Ferdinand has twice before dealt with the frustration of missing out on major tournaments with England. He was ruled out of the 2010 World Cup with injury and banned for Euro 2004 after failing to turn up for a drug's test.

What price redemption?

That's the question that will likely be asked of Ferdinand in the forthcoming days, as Hodgson seeks to address the issue of whether he and Terry could be part of the same squad this summer.

The incoming England manager has made a resolution between the two men a priority. It's not just about Ferdinand and Terry; it's about a divided squad finding common ground to ensure England heads into Euro 2012 with harmony in the ranks.

Clearly there are those who side with Terry and those who side with Ferdinand. Hodgson will be fully aware it's the actions of the two men in question that are most important.

He'll also be aware that with such little time to prepare for Euro 2012, the vast experience of Terry and Ferdinand, who between them have amassed 153 caps for England, makes a strong argument for them starting together at the tournament.

For that to happen Hodgson will have to somehow rebuild a footballing marriage between the pair that appeared to have suffered irreconcilable differences.

Terry is not going to apologize. Ferdinand will not publicly betray his brother. Hodgson is just a day into the job and he's already facing a problem most of us would run a mile from.

His only hope is that the prize at the stake is enough to make both men step away from the issue and perform a duty for England's greater good.


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