Hodgson sorry over Rio Tube comment

PA Sport
Roy Hodgson has apologised for comments he made about Rio Ferdinand's England future
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Roy Hodgson has apologised for comments he made about Rio Ferdinand's England future

Roy Hodgson has apologised to Rio Ferdinand for the clumsy manner he dealt with the Manchester United defender's omission from the latest England squad.

Ferdinand learned he was not going to be selected on Thursday morning after Hodgson made some rather loose comments to a fellow passenger on the Tube heading to Arsenal's Champions League encounter with Olympiacos at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.

"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."

In addition to confirming the 33-year-old was not going to be selected for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland, Hodgson also indicated Ferdinand's international career was over despite John Terry's retirement from England duty.

The words underlined Hodgson's squad announcement on Thursday morning, in which there was no place for Ferdinand but a recall for Stoke's Ryan Shawcross, whose only previous call-up came under Fabio Capello in 2010.

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 didn't say Rio's career was over," Hodgson said. "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.

"It is not for me to call 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.

"I've paid for it and I will learn in future. Maybe this will be a lesson for all the people who see me on the Tube in future: please don't be too offended if I refuse to answer any questions you ask me."

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