It seems that there isn’t a single football blog online that isn’t dissecting the current situation of Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand with regards to his current form, his Manchester United future and more recently his England future.
Cast out from Roy Hodgsons England squad this summer for Euro 2012 for apparent ‘Footballing reasons’, Ferdinand is still adamant that his exclusion from the squad is more to do with John Terry’s racial insults on his brother Anton. Some might back Hodgson for his decision, but when you consider the fact that Hodgson then went on to select reserve Liverpool defender Martin Kelly ahead of Ferdinand who had a solid season for Man United after just missing out on another Premier League Title, you can’t help but think that there isn’t a single ‘football reason’ that can justify that decision.
I find it very unfortunate that Rio Ferdinand has probably suffered more than anyone since John Terry racially abused his brother. He hasn’t been near the England squad for the first four months of Roy Hodgsons reign and it looks ever more likely that this will continue to be the case. Even Sir Alex has claimed that there is probably no way that Rio Ferdinand will ever be back in an England shirt, and even though he believes he can still do a job, Ferguson feels that Rio should call time on international football if he wants to prolong his Manchester United career.
I completely agree with Ferguson on this one. You only have to look at how Giggs and Scholes benefitted from international retirement and Ferdinand will certainly benefit from more breaks in the season at this stage of his career.
I also firmly believe that despite never ruling himself out of playing for England again, Ferdinand wouldn’t be too eager to play under Roy Hodgson after how he has been treated. Equally, Hodgson would be make a complete mockery of his previous decision if he went ahead and selected Ferdinand for the upcoming qualifiers with San Marino and Poland. So the chances of a return for Rio are very slim.
So the only problem we have now is that England will be without arguably one of our best if not the best central defender for a crucial match in Warsaw (I’m predicting that San Marino shouldn’t be a problem!).
Of course there will be soccer blogs out there that will strongly make the claim that the likes of Joleon Lescott, Phil Jagielka and Tim Cahill are better players than Ferdinand. I’m not disputing that, on current form, they may well be, and of course they will be the first defenders on Roy Hodgsons squad list. Then you will have the likes of Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Steven Caulker making up the numbers who are all great prospects. But, I’ll leave you with this…Surely it is a managers duty to pick the best players? Which Hodgson himself has previously stated that he judges this on whether a player is playing regularly for his club, it doesn’t matter how old they are and that his defenders must be comfortable in possession. Ferdinand ticks every box! He might not be the player he once was, and he had a stinker against Spurs at the weekend, but he was arguably the best player on the pitch at Anfield the week before, he played more games than every United player apart from Wayne Rooney last season which puts his fitness doubts to one side, and to add to that he has 81 England caps. It is a shame that he will most likely be unable to add to them.