Hapless England manager Roy Hodgson's plans were plunged further into disarray today with the revelation that he has replaced Gary Cahill, who only has 9 caps himself, with 22-year old Martin Kelly of Liverpool.
Bearing in mind that Kelly has only played a few minutes of senior football all season as a substitute for Liverpool, it makes Hodgson's decision to leave out the vastly experienced Ferdinand all the more ridiculous.
The very thing Hodgson wanted to avoid is now playing out in front of an ever growing audience, and one that is becoming more bemused with each passing decision that he makes. If Hodgson was a boxer, you would think that he was punch drunk.
First of all, having made a declaration that he wanted to mix experience with youth at the Euro Championships, he then made a series of decisions that seem to fly in the face of his own directive. With each withdrawal due to injury, he has replaced the experienced player with an inexperienced one. Moreover, he has now got a total of six players from one team, Liverpool, who limped home to an eighth place finish in the Premier League. They played so poorly that their manager, Kenny Dalglish was sacked as a result.
So why would he make such ludicrous decisions? Well firstly, his insistance that this was a footballing decision has been roundly mocked by respected ex-England players pointing to Ferdinands stature on the world football stage. Players like Alan Shearer and Les Ferdinand have lined up to criticize Hodgsons decision as being wrong but it is the duplicity of his decision to include the disgraced Terry that has alarm bells ringing. Terry faces a police charge of racism due right after the Euros finish.
This is not just a frivolous charge, but one supported by the Crown Prosecution Service. By way of comparison, the Italian Football Association has withdrawn Domenico Criscito who is alleged to have been involved in the match fixing scandal. Despite, not being found guilty as of yet, it is the matter of integrity that matters, and the Italians have made the right decision, whilst the English FA has not. They could have avoided all the grief for Hodgson by simply leaving out Terry altogether. Then he could have picked Ferdinand without any problems.
As it stands, Hodgson will be accused of making a political decision to leave out Ferdinand, whose brother, Anton, is the victim in all this, whilst the perpetrator, Terry is allowed to carry on regardless.
This is not the first time that Terry has been the centre of controversy. He famously got caught having an illicit affair with his teammates wife and was summarily stripped of the captaincy of England. He subsequently still went to the World Cup in South Africa where he was a disruptive and poisonous influence, splitting the squad into factions that remain to this day. Terry is reviled by most people in this country and there will be dismay that Hodgson continues his obdurate pursuit of this course of action.
There can only be one conclusion drawn from Hodgson's actions rather than his weasel words, and that is that he has made Ferdinand an expedient rather than deal with Terry in a way that he should if he is to retain any credibility. Any goodwill that Hodgson has accrued since his appointment has already been lost and there will be many in this country not willing to support his team in the Euro championships.
England should now be called 'England B' as most of the players are second stringers who could not make an impact on any of the top four Premier League teams.