LONDON: Rio Ferdinand, through a friend and ‘representative,’ has accused the Football Association and England manager Roy Hodgson of treating him with “a total lack of respect” after his continued Euro 2012 omission.
The FA confirmed on Sunday that Gary Cahill had been ruled out of the tournament after fracturing his jaw in two places during the 1-0 win over Belgium at Wembley.
It meant Hodgson had another space to fill in his squad, having already used his standby defender, Phil Jagielka, to replace Gareth Barry last week.
Ferdinand, 33, would have been the obvious choice given his vast experience, a commodity which England have lost so much of following the injuries to Barry and fellow central midfielder Frank Lampard in the past week.
Instead Hodgson has gone for Liverpool youngster Martin Kelly, who made his international debut as a substitute in the final two minutes of the win in Norway on May 26.
Hodgson faced a barrage of questions when naming his squad on May 16 about whether he had snubbed Ferdinand because of concerns the centre-back would not be able to get along with John Terry, in light of Terry’s impending court case for alleged racist remarks to Ferdinand’s brother Anton at Loftus Road in October. Terry denies the charge against him.
And it appears the Ferdinand camp feel there is more to the decision than simply “footballing reasons”, the grounds Hodgson gave for leaving the Manchester United man out of his initial squad.
Ferdinand’s representative and long-standing friend Jamie Moralee said: “Lampard, Terry, Barry, Gerrard; all ageing but they go to the tournament.
“Why is Rio different?
“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.”
Kelly, who made just 12 Premier League appearances for Liverpool last term, is bound to be relishing his chance.
But having lost the equivalent of 143 caps’ worth of experience last week when Lampard and Barry were ruled out through injury, then bemoaned how much they would be missed, it is hard to believe Hodgson has ignored Ferdinand – who made 38 appearances last term and started United’s last 16 Premier League games – on form grounds alone.
That will bring yet more questions of the coach at the first available opportunity after England arrive at their Krakow base on Wednesday providing, as expected, Terry gets the green light to travel after an initial scan on the tight hamstring he experienced against Belgium yesterday indicated there was no serious damage.
“What reasons?????!!!” was Ferdinand’s first reaction to his 2.8million Twitter followers as debate raged this afternoon, indicating a sense of disenchantment that is magnified in private as the defender tries to comprehend the decision Hodgson has reached.
When he looks at the experienced players who have been picked, Ferdinand could be forgiven for feelings of total fury.
Under such circumstances, it is difficult to see Ferdinand adding to his haul of England caps. Being passed over again means he will never get the chance to play at a European Championships, having missed out on four tournaments now for a variety of reasons.
The row over Ferdinand’s non-selection is unfortunate for Cahill and Kelly.
The latter may suffer from what should have been the greatest moment of his career being badly tarnished.
And for Cahill it means his misery at an incident condemned by Hodgson, after Dries Mertens deliberately shoved the Chelsea defender into Joe Hart, is largely being ignored.
Mertens has at least expressed remorse for his part in the incident, issuing an apology on his Twitter page.
The PSV Eindhoven forward wrote: “I sincerely apologize for the harm I’ve cost to Cahill. When in the heat of the moment, you often don’t think about the consequences.
“My thoughts go out to him and I hope he recovers well!”
After Jordan Henderson’s call-up last week, the inclusion of Kelly means England will leave for Poland and Ukraine with over a quarter of their squad made up by Liverpool players whose performance was so bad last season that manager Kenny Dalglish ended up being sacked.
** France’s defensive midfielder Yann M’Vila has been passed fit for Euro 2012 after being injured early in last weekend’s friendly against Serbia.
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