While most of the back pages concentrate on the small matter of football, with some fairly significant Champions League matches played by Manchester City and Arsenal last night, the Mirror concentrates on an angle ahead of today’s England squad announcement for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.
As Hodgson travelled to the Emirates to watch Arsenal on the underground, the report claims that passengers quizzed him about Ferdinand’s prospects of a recall. And surprisingly, he answered.
“I very much doubt it. He hasn’t played for England for quite a while,” revealed Hodgson.
“I have to say it is over for him and England. It has got to be the end of the road. He is pushing 34 and hasn’t played for England for a long, long time.”
Now, Hodgson hasn’t said anything definitive on Ferdinand’s future at international level since the summer, when he explained that Ferdinand missed out on the Euro 2012 squad and John Terry made it in for ‘footballing reasons’.
Many were dubious, believing that Ferdinand’s omission owed more to avoiding dressing room conflict with the centre-half upset by Terry’s alleged racial abuse of his brother.
You can call Paper Round cynical if you like, but given the sensitivity of the situation it doesn’t make much sense that Hodgson would declare Ferdinand’s career over on a train to strangers.
Don’t get us wrong – there’s enough pictorial evidence to suggest that yes, quite conclusively, Roy rode the Tube.
And whether Hodgson said what he said or not, certainly don’t expect it to be contradicted today when the England squad is announced – Rio Ferdinand is not going to be included.
But then, we already knew that much from England assistant coach Gary Neville, who’d trotted out a perfectly valid explanation earlier in the week during his day job at Sky Sports.
"He is a class defender, but [at] the World Cup, he'll be 35," Neville said. "Roy Hodgson has said importantly – and it's a mistake many managers have made with England – he's not going to take 34-year-olds, 35-year-olds who are seasoned internationals, who have 70-odd, 80 caps, to sit in the stand. I've seen that be divisive in previous squads and it will be divisive in this squad. And it won't happen, and it's the correct decision.”
Still, if Roy’s reading the papers this morning, he’d surely be tempted to pick up the phone to Ferdinand and make him a late addition to the line-up.
One man who is supposedly set for an England recall, however, is Tottenham’s Aaron Lennon, who will be rewarded for his bright start to the season.
Away from the trains, there’s plenty of other speculation to be tucking into.
The Sun says that Sir Alex Ferguson has been warned off making a budget bid for Thomas Ince by Blackpool manger Ian Holloway.
The 20-year-old has been making waves in the Championship this season and been linked with a £4 million move to Manchester United – but Holloway claims he is worth £10m.
Meanwhile, the Mirror links former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola with the AC Milan job, despite Massimiliano Allegri still being in charge at the San Siro.
- Rio Ferdinand
- England squad