Hodgson apologizes to Ferdinand
England manager Roy Hodgson has issued an apology to Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand over the way he dealt with his omission from his latest squad.
Ferdinand learned he was not going to be selected after Hodgson made some loose comments to a fellow passenger on the Tube heading to Arsenal's Champions League encounter with Olympiakos on Wednesday.
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 prefaced Hodgson's squad announcement on Thursday morning, in which there was no place for Ferdinand but a spot for Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross, whose only previous call-up came under Fabio Capello in 2010.
Hodgson said: "I apologise to him (Ferdinand) and will apologise to him and there is no way I would indicate that I would not use a player in this way.
"I have tried to get in touch with Rio today and I am disappointed that a stray conversation has been reported in that way.
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"I didn't say Rio's career was over. 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.
"I am just disappointed this could be seen as a lack of respect to Rio which is something I would shy away from.
"I have the utmost respect for him, as a person and a player. It is not for me to call time on anyone's career. I would never dream of calling 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."
Hodgson says he has now learnt his lesson about discussing England in public, adding: "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?'.
"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.
"This is one of the hazards I suppose of travelling on Tube trains when you go up to London and then speaking to people who ask me questions rather than sitting there tight-lipped refusing to ever open my mouth.
"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."
The question of Ferdinand's selection had been raised again due to Terry retiring from England duty after he felt his position had been made "untenable" due to the FA pursuing him over the comments he made at Loftus Road in October last year towards the Manchester United man's brother Anton.
Terry was given a four-match ban and a £220,000 fine by the FA for using racist language.
Hodgson insists he has not even though about whether Terry would change his mind in the future, adding: "It's a hypothetical question. How can you pick someone in the squad if they have retired from international football? He has retired. Would I pick Bobby Charlton if he hadn't stopped playing for England?
"What I've said about John Terry, I stand by every word. I regret his decision but I respect it. I accept it and I move forward.
"I look at the other options available to me and keep my eyes firmly fixed on qualification for Brazil in two years' time."