When Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand was originally left out of England manager Roy Hodgson's Euro 12 side, the excuse given was "footballing reasons." And while the 33-year-old has suffered through injuries and poor form in recent years, it was assumed by many that Ferdinand making it clear that he wanted nothing to do with international teammate John Terry, who faces an upcoming court case over alleged racial slurs used against Rio's brother Anton during a Premier League match last October, was at least partly why Hodgson left Rio at home. But now that Gary Cahill has been ruled out of the tournament with a fractured jaw and Liverpool's Martin Kelly, a 22-year-old who only started 12 Premier League matches last season, has been called up to replace him, Ferdinand and one of his representatives are taking offense.
"What reasons?????!!!" Ferdinand said on Twitter with enough punctuation to convey his frustration after the Kelly announcement was made. One of Rio's reps expanded on that sentiment a bit later. From Sky Sports:
Ferdinand's representative and long-standing friend, Jamie Moralee, said on Sunday: "Lampard, Terry, Barry, Gerrard; all ageing but they go to the tournament. Why is Rio different?"
Well, all those players arguably had far better seasons than Rio, so that seems the obvious answer. Plus Hodgson probably thinks that having a centerback who harbors bitterness (as understandable as it may be) for another centerback on the team isn't the best thing to bring into a major tournament. And since he felt he could only take on or the other, he took the one he felt was on better form (hence the "footballing reasons"?).
"To treat a player that has captained and served his country 81 times (in this manner) is nothing short of disgraceful. Total lack of respect from Hodgson and the FA as far as I am concerned."
Disgraceful? Did Roy Hodgson spit on Rio in the street? Borrow his car without asking? Maybe we're missing some pertinent details, but it seems Hodgson just decided not to pick Ferdinand -- who has only played a handful of matches for England over the last two years -- for a football tournament. To call that disgraceful treatment is a bit much. Even if it was Martin Kelly chosen instead of him.
As for the FA's lack of respect for a former captain and long-serving player, well, this is the same organization that twice stripped John Terry of the captaincy -- once for a rumor that was never proven true and more recently for the pending Anton Ferdinand case -- so it's unclear how Rio could have expected them to handle this well.
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- Rio Ferdinand
- Roy Hodgson
- John Terry