When Roy Hodgson told the press that he left Rio Ferdinand out of the England squad for ‘footballing reasons’, most people took it with a pinch of salt. As far as blind faced lies goes, it must rank up there with Dalglish’s constant support of already-found-guilty-but-still-somehow-innocent Suarez (and look where that got him).
John Terry made 43 appearances for Chelsea last season, Rio Ferdinand made 37 for Manchester United. John Terry had been on and off the injury table far more often than Ferdinand and when Rio finally managed to get himself a consistent run of games, Manchester United were the indomitable force in the Premier League. So what footballing reasons are you talking about Roy?
It must be the same footballing reasons that have seen England’s best central midfielder Michael Carrick left at home, the same reasons that have seen uncapped Liverpool full-back Martin Kelly take his place in the England squad ahead of the talented Micah Richards, who omitted himself from the running after not making the squad originally.
Maybe Roy Hodgson the humanitarian is simply protecting Rio Ferdinand from the potential threat of racial abuse that will be hurled at players and fans alike from the ultra hooligans in Poland and Ukraine? That is about as likely as Paul Gascoigne getting a late call up from Roy (not a bad idea in comparison to some of his call-ups so far).
Ultimately, we all know it has absolutely nothing to do with footballing reasons. Roy Hodgson is obviously struggling with realising that he is the England manager because his decorum so far has been laughable.
It was plainly obvious that with John Terry’s impending court case on racial accusations of Anton Ferdinand, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand were not going to be able to play alongside each other in the same team. So, Roy Hodgson obviously felt that Terry would bring more to the team? The same Terry that had previously been stripped of the England captaincy less than three months before, whilst arguably England’s best central defender this season sits at home without a place in the team.
Alongside the atrocities of leaving Rio Ferdinand out, Martin Kelly is the sixth Liverpool player to be called up to the England squad. The same Liverpool that finished 37 points behind Manchester City and United in the Premier League this season. The same Liverpool that Roy Hodgson managed not so long ago. England never had much of a chance going into the tournament with a brand new manager but their chances look dead in the water now.
No England manager gets an easy run in the press but having made a fool of himself with his decisions so far, Roy Hodgson is setting himself up for a mighty fall when England come back with their tail between their legs from Ukraine. Will he still stand by John Terry if he is found guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand?