Ferdinand decision to reject England call-up strengthens hand at United
Defender in no rush to open contract talks
Rio Ferdinand of Manchester United applauds the fans at the end of the Premier League match between Manchester United and Reading at Old Trafford last weekend. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Rio Ferdinand has yet to start discussions over a new contract at Manchester United and the defender’s decision to reject an England call-up has strengthened his negotiating position. On Sunday evening Ferdinand chose against meeting up with Roy Hodgson’s squad after receiving a first international selection since June 2011. The central defender cited his determination not to compromise a carefully detailed conditioning programme that has allowed him to become a regular starter for United again.
Ferdinand’s decision will have pleased Alex Ferguson after the manager suggested on Friday the player may pull out due to concerns that going away with England may disrupt his fitness. The 34-year-old earns around £130,000 a week on a deal that expires in the summer. Ferdinand and his advisers are in no hurry to begin discussions as they consider options.
Frank Lampard intends to speak to the England manager, Roy Hodgson, before determining where he will play his club football next season, with the Chelsea midfielder convinced he could join a side outside Europe and still justify his place in the national squad.
The 34-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and, while a formal offer of a new deal could yet materialise, he will have no shortage of alternative options abroad. LA Galaxy have made their interest known yet Hodgson had admitted after last month’s win over Brazil it would “complicate matters” in terms of the midfielder’s involvement at the 2014 World Cup if Lampard moved to a club on the other side of the globe.
Asked whether the manager’s comments might prompt him to discount a move to Major League Soccer, Lampard said: “I don’t think it rules out anything. I haven’t had the conversation with the manager about it, but I’ve seen players get picked before who were playing all over the world. If there’s ever a time where there’s an option of going outside Europe, I’m sure I would have the conversation with Roy about that.”
Blackburn have sacked Michael Appleton after just over two months in charge at Ewood Park. Rovers have made the decision to dismiss a third manager this season following Sunday’s 1-1 draw with local rivals Burnley and last week’s FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Millwall.