Former Arsenal and England defender Sol Campbell has condemned Roy Hodgson's decision not to take Rio Ferdinand to Euro 2012, suspecting that the race row surrounding John Terry played a huge part in his exclusion.
The new Three Lions manager claimed to have left out the Manchester United defender for purely "football reasons", despite the fact that Terry will stand trial on July 9 after allegedly racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother, Anton, during Chelsea’s defeat at QPR last October.
The 33-year-old’s international career looks to be all but over after Hodgson axed him but Campbell, who himself made 73 appearances for England, doesn't subscribe the boss' line of thought.
“I don't know the conversation Roy Hodgson has had with John Terry or Rio Ferdinand. That's going to probably be kept quiet, who knows. But I think [the racism issue] did play a small or a big part in it," the former Arsenal man told CNN.
“But you can't say it’s for footballing reasons, because he's experienced and he's done fantastically for his club, especially in the last three months.
“For me it's really surprising. I can’t believe it.
“You can't really talk about him not playing any games. He's played the last 10, 12 games for Manchester United and been excellent, he's as fit as a fiddle."
The former Liverpool boss also handed the captain’s armband to Steven Gerrard and, despite the Reds’ skipper having played just 33 minutes in the previous 18 months for his country, Campbell believes that the midfielder fits the bill.
“I'm surprised Stevie didn't become captain sooner,” he opined.
“He’s always seemed to be overlooked, but he's an excellent captain for his club and I'm sure he'd be excellent for England.”