Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has withdrawn from the England national squad following a meeting with England manager Roy Hodgson on Sunday evening. Hodgson explained Ferdinand could not play in England’s World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro “due to the detailed pre-planned training and medical program he (Ferdinand) must follow.”
Ferdinand had been called up to the squad by Hodgson after previously being ignored by him and former England manager Fabio Capello since his last cap, against Switzerland in June 2011. There had been doubts about whether Ferdinand would play for England, and Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson stated that playing for England would disrupt Ferdinand’s fitness program.
“Roy Hodgson phoned me to say he had called him (Rio) up and I was quite surprised,” Ferguson said. “I did say to him that I will talk to Rio.
“The issue is not that (amount of games), the issue is his whole preparation for football today.
“It involves treatment, it involves rest, it involves heavy days followed by some light days followed by some easy days.
“Our medical staff and fitness lads have done a great job with him. That’s the issue.
“Because he hasn’t been playing international football, when the international breaks have come along, we have detailed all the things he has to do: when he trains, when his treatments come along, therefore it is a disruption to his normal preparation.”
But on Saturday Ferguson announced that Ferdinand would join the squad, and when asked if Ferdinand would join, he answered “Yes.” However, following Ferdinand’s meeting with Hodgson, it has been announced that the thirty-four-year-old would not make the trip to the England camp.
“Rio Ferdinand has been forced to withdraw from England’s forthcoming fixtures with San Marino and Montenegro,” an English Football Association statement read. “The decision was taken following a meeting in London on Sunday evening with Rio Ferdinand and England Manager Roy Hodgson.”
Hodgson has expressed his disappointment on Ferguson withdrawing, but did not rule out the possibility of Ferdinand returning to the England squad. “I’m disappointed Rio will not be available, but due to the detailed pre-planned training and medical programme he must follow it’s not possible. However, I was pleased that Rio called and asked to meet with me. It was important to hear from him personally about the way he must manage his body between games.” This is not to say he cannot play back-to-back games – he can and has proven so. He’s out this time due to particular pre-planned details already in place for his programme. I must place on record how I was impressed with his commitment to playing for England and I look forward to hopefully selecting him for squads in the future.”
Ferdinand has also told of his disappointment on having to withdraw. “It was important for me to be able to speak with Roy face to face and explain the situation, and one thing I made clear was that my passion and commitment to represent my country is as strong as ever. It is disappointing that I won’t be able to play a part in the upcoming games but I told Roy that I want to continue to be available for England and I look forward to working with him in the future.”
Ferdinand has been replaced by Tottenham defender Steven Caulker for the qualifiers.