Ferdinand puts the boot into Hodgson


Soccer:Rio Ferdinand has criticised Roy Hodgson's management at Euro 2012, claiming the England boss underused his younger players and was too defensive in his tactics.Hodgson, meanwhile, has defended Wayne Rooney from criticism from former England boss Fabio Capello.

The 33-year-old defender, who was overlooked by Hodgson for his squad for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine, wanted to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Phil Jones given more game time.

He also criticised Hodgson's choice of formation, and questioned whether Andrea Pirlo, the Italy playmaker who was instrumental in England's quaterfinal exit, would even have been selected for the Three Lions squad.

He told The Sun: "I am a fan of 'The Ox' and I wanted to see more of him but in the end he finished up as a spectator."

He went on: "Phil Jones is one of the most adaptable players we have in our country and where was he? When we need to take the ball from midfield, run 40 yards with it and put the other team on the back foot, he is the man for the job. Instead, we stayed cautious and Jordan Henderson was used instead. That's not a criticism of Jordan, he is a different player to Phil, but I thought it showed we were being too conservative."

Since England's exit, Hodgson has talked about getting more young players into the team for the upcoming World Cup qualifying campaign.Ferdinand said: "I'm reading a lot of stuff about how it's time to get the youngsters in and all of that but you only find out if they can do it when you throw them in there. What did we learn about Alex and Phil at this tournament?

"Do we know how much influence Alex can have on a game in a finals? He did fairly well against France, so why not persist with him and let him grow into it?

As for Phil, we will now have to wait until the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, provided we qualify, to see how good he can be at the highest level. Expectations were low so the manager had a free shot to find out about our youngsters and I feel it was a missed opportunity."

Ferdinand was impressed by the performance of Pirlo, but added: "If Pirlo was English would he have made the squad let alone been on the pitch? I don't know as his qualities may have been overlooked... not by just the current manager but maybe those before him too."

One England player who impressed Ferdinand was his Manchester United team-mate Danny Welbeck.

"The only time we really kept the ball properly was when Danny Welbeck dropped short to collect it and linked the play," he said. But, usually, he was having to stay up and wasn't allowed to drop too much because we had set out a certain way with a 4-4-2 which didn't offer a great deal of flexibility."

He added: "It's okay saying we were very good defensively and hard to beat but if you set out to be defensive then that's your first priority.

"I'd love to see us running at other teams. I want to see Alex and Theo and Adam Johnson, who I thought should have gone too, causing problems instead of worrying about covering back as the first thought."

Meanwhile Hodgson has dismissed predecessor Fabio Capello's comments about Wayne Rooney as "cheap". Capello, who managed England for four years before resigning four months prior to Euro 2012, told Italian radio that the Manchester United striker "only understands Scottish" because he only played well for Sir Alex Ferguson.

Rooney, who was suspended for the first two games of the tournament, was visibly short of his best in the two matches he did play, including the quarter-final exit to Italy. Although Rooney did score his first goal at a major tournament since Euro 2004 - a point-blank header against Ukraine in the final group match - he has often struggled to influence matches for England in the way he regularly does at club level.

But Hodgson was full of praise for Rooney's attitude and commitment and did not welcome Capello's input on the subject.

"Capello is entitled to his opinions, I suppose. I don't know what relationship he would have had with Wayne but I always think it's a bit cheap to kid on a player who was so anxious to do well," he said. "His attitude was magnificent. He was putting in extra work in training because he was concerned he was behind the others having missed the first two games through suspension.

"He was trying to do extra work and we were trying to put the brakes on. His desire to do well was enormous. In the final game [against Italy] he, along with one or two other players, didn't play to the level he can but that's what football is about. If every player was a robot and played at the same level in every game then football would be a very simple game and we wouldn't need coaches."

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