Hodgson apologises for loose talk
Soccer:Roy Hodgson has apologised to Rio Ferdinand for the manner in which the omission of the Manchester United defender from the England squad was made public. Ferdinand learned he was not going to be selected this morning after Hodgson told a fellow passenger on the Tube.
While heading to Arsenal’s Champions League encounter with Olympiacos at the Emirates Stadium last night, Hodgson told a passenger the 33-year-old Ferdinand was not going to be selected for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland and also indicated his international career was over despite John Terry’s retirement from England duty.
Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross, whose only previous call-up came under Fabio Capello in 2010, was preferred to Ferdinand when the squad was named this morning.
Hodgson acknowledged he had made a mistake imparting such information to a random member of the public. And while he was unable to make contact with Ferdinand when he called this morning, the England coach intends to make amends, even if the brutal reality is the defender’s 81-cap England career is almost certainly over.
“I have tried to get in touch with Rio today,” said Hodgson. “I am disappointed that a stray conversation has been reported in that way. I didn’t say Rio’s career was over. I might have admitted, foolishly I guess, and I only have myself to blame, that I wasn’t going to choose him in this squad.
“I am just disappointed this could be seen as a lack of respect to Rio which is something I would shy away from. I have the utmost respect for him, as a person and a player. It is not for me to call time on anyone’s career. I would never dream of calling time on anyone’s career.
“It is up to an individual player to decide if he doesn’t want to play anymore and when I speak to Rio I will make that very clear to him. But the bottom line is I am sticking to my guns. I am staying with the players I selected for the Euros and I am looking to the future.”
There is a certain naivety about Hodgson that means it is certainly plausible that he could get into a public chat and give away such information, but it is a lesson the 65-year-old will learn from very quickly.
“All I remember was that I was talking to quite a lot of people on the Tube and one guy said ‘is Rio in the next squad?’,” he said. “I think I might have said ‘I don’t think so’ and that is about as far as I went. But I shouldn’t say that of course. It’s a mistake and I need to apologise for it.
“This is one of the hazards I suppose of travelling on Tube trains when you go up to London and then speaking to people who ask me questions rather than sitting there tight-lipped refusing to ever open my mouth. I’ve paid for it and I will learn in future.