Manchester United centre back, Rio Ferdinand, has withdrawn himself from the England squad ahead of the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro due to a pre-planned “medical programme”. On Sunday 17th March 2013, Ferdinand met with the England manager Roy Hodgson to discuss whether he would be included in the squad to play in Friday’s game. During the meeting Ferdinand confirmed that he wanted to represent his country and add to his 81 international caps. However, Hodgson explained that he was “disappointed Rio will not be available, but due to the detailed medical programme he must follow it’s not possible”.
Later that day, Rio Ferdinand took to twitter to let his fans know that he was “gutted” but it was a decision that had to be made due to his “intricate pre-planned programme”. In a statement Ferdinand added, “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”.
However, former international players started announcing their thoughts believing that this could be the end of the centre backs international career, which forced Rio to take to twitter yet again. This time he tweeted, “I thought these ex-sportsmen who have experience with injuries and maintenance would know better than to chat rubbish like they are doing.” Due to Ferdinand’s withdrawal, the England under 21 centre back, Steven Caulker will now join the senior squad along with Chris Smalling and Joleon Lescott, as other centre back options.
England will play San Marino on Friday 22nd March before travelling to Montenegro on Tuesday 26th March, both of these matches could decide who wins Group H. Despite Ferdinand missing out on these games, Hodgson did say, “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.”
The England manager chose to leave Ferdinand out of the Euro 2012 competition for what he called “footballing reasons” but many speculated as to whether it was because John Terry was in the team. Terry playing as centre back might have caused problems with Ferdinand as he had a court hearing for racial abuse against the Manchester United players’ brother, Anton Ferdinand. The Chelsea defender was found not guilty and the FA banned him just after he retired from international football. Now Ferdinand wants to play for England, this news has caused his club manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, to admit that he was “shocked” by the news of him being re-called.