Manchester United centre back’s shock decision not to participate in England’s crucial upcoming World Cup qualifying double header could now spell the end of his international career.
Source: BBC Sport Online
Rio Ferdinand’s unavailability must have been the very last thing that England head coach Roy Hodgson wanted to have to deal with as he prepares his England squad for what could potentially be the most important two matches of his entire Three Lions managerial career.
Lest we forget, Hodgson and his team are not exactly breezing their way through to next summer’s World Cup finals in South America. Instead, England sit in second place in World Cup qualifying Group H – two points behind surprise leaders Montenegro, who the Three Lions travel to take on next Tuesday night. Third-placed Poland are also still in the hunt, trailing England by only three points themselves, and having played a game less than their rivals too.
It is tight in the race for Brazil 2014 then, so now is definitely not the time to be undergoing a major defensive crisis for Hodgson – or more accurately a central defensive crisis. The fact that the likes of Michael Dawson and Phil Jagielka are out injured, while John Terry and Jamie Carragher now having decided to finally hang up their boots, explains just why the manager opted to make his brave call to Ferdinand in the first place.
However, that does beg the question of why the England medical staff had not known about Ferdinand’s specific medical programme that has subsequently resulted in him having to withdraw from the squad on Monday, having met with Hodgson himself to explain the rather unique situation face to face.
Hodgson himself has admitted that he had not spoken to Rio for ten months before Sunday’s meeting, the last time being when he informed the classy centre back that he would not be selected to play for his country at last summer’s European Championship finals in Poland and the Ukraine due to ‘footballing reasons’, which the media interpreted as not being able to play alongside Chelsea and England skipper John Terry at the back.
And, there is also the thorny issue of Ferdinand being out of contract at United this summer and having still to be offered a new deal by his manager Sir Alex Ferguson – and the 34 year-old could find himself at a crossroads come June.