Rio Well Within His Right To Give The F.A And Hodgson The Cold Shoulder.

on March 21 2013 11:54 AM
If Roy Hodgson expected anything else, he's either extremely naïve or incredibly stupid. Or perhaps both. When Rio Ferdinand was recalled to the England squad last week it was met with great surprise. After all, this is the same Manager who was filmed on the London Underground telling fans Ferdinand had no future with the England squad. Hodgson soon changed his tune when his squad became decimated by injuries and lack of playing time, forcing Hodgson to call upon the man he cast out into the cold months ago. The incident between Chelsea defender John Terry and Rio's brother, QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, is the catalyst for this controversy. Terry was accused of racially abusing the younger Ferdinand during a heated game between the two sides on 25th October 2011. There appeared to be clear video evidence supporting this and Terry was subsequently facing criminal charges as a result. The case went to trial and Terry was found not guilty in court, largely in part to the testimony of teammate Ashley Cole. The verdict baffled many, especially as the Football Association banned Terry for four matches and fined him £220,000 after their own investigation. The way this situation was handled enraged the Ferdinand's, with speculation mounting about what this would do to the cohesion of the England team. The members in question here were three out of four members of England's first choice back four. Things were made worse when Rio referred to Ashley Cole as a 'Choc Ice' on social media site Twitter, which encountered the displeasure of the Football Association and Ferdinand received a hefty fine of £45,000. So the battle lines had been drawn and Hodgson was forced to make a difficult decision as it was clear that having these three individuals in the same squad would cause division detrimental to the team. This was a difficult situation for Hodgson to deal with. He hadn't been in the job long, replacing Fabio Capello before Euro 2012 after he resigned because the F.A had removed Terry of the captaincy without Capello's permission. Hodgson decided to side with Terry and Cole and omit Ferdinand from the squad, somewhat controversially. Understandable, though. Terry and Cole were at the height of their profession at the time. Cole was regarded as the best left-back in World football. Terry, the unquestioned leader of the England dressing room regardless of whether he was Captain or not, was considered by Hodgson too crucial to his plans to let this situation affect his ability to select the Chelsea Captain. It was at the expense of Ferdinand, who had to be sacrificed if he couldn't co-exist with two of England's better players. Ferdinand never said anything regarding this decision, although his Manager at Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson was apoplectic on the matter. Ferdinand made all the right noises and voiced his support for the England team via his popular Twitter page while never really discussing his own future with the team. Ferdinand was widely considered to be on the decline, at 34 years old he had clearly lost a step and with all the niggling injuries taking their toll it was widely perceived that Ferdinand's time being a large influence at the highest level was all but over. Or so we thought. Ferdinand has been colossal for most of this season for Manchester United. Ferguson has done an incredible job of managing his games and playing time, saving Ferdinand for crucial games as United look to regain their Championship. He is back to being a calming influence at the heart of the United defence and whilst the pace isn't what it once was he continues to read the game extremely well. The pinnacle of his season was at the Bernabeu against Real Madrid in the Champions League where he was nothing short of sensational. He has clearly done enough to earn a new contract at the end of the season which will enable him to play at one of the worlds biggest clubs for at least another two years. Hodgson must have mulled over Rio's recall long before he actually selected him due to this form. His hand was then forced as injuries rattled his quad ahead of two crucial World Cup Qualifiers. So now he had selected Ferdinand, the question had to be asked. Would Ferdinand actually want to come back? Ferdinand made us wait before announcing he wouldn't be joining up with the squad and would instead be concentrating on his fitness regime at United which had been so beneficial to him this season. A definite slap in the face for Hodgson and the F.A but what did they honestly expect? They treated Ferdinand terribly and they just expected him to let bygones be bygones and go straight back into the fold without any fuss whatsoever? That was never going to happen I'm afraid. Ferdinand is a proud man and whilst not playing for England is a decision he could come to regret, he is right to stand by his morales without question. No doubt Ferguson would have had his input. Football is a Sport that doesn't revolve around Internationals like, for instance, Rugby. It is the Club that pays the hefty salaries of the players and therefore it is the clubs the players prioritise. Ferguson will have spoken to Rio about this situation and will have advised him to concentrate on his health for his club. There's no doubt Ferdinand has benefited from not playing International Football and only has to look at his Manchester United teammates Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes' longevity as an example for what retiring from International Football can do for you. Not that Rio has officially announced his retirement from International Football officially. After this debacle and lack of communication from both parties it's hard to envisage Hodgson selecting Ferdinand for future Internationals. Bridges have been burnt and neither side has come out of this particularly well. The circus that will surround any future selection would be too much of a distraction as England look to catch Montenegro for automatic qualification to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. No doubt the media will make more of Ferdinand's decision to fly to the Middle East and be a guest analyst for TV company Al-Jazeera on the England vs San Marino game on Friday. This is absurd, footballers who do not participate in Internationals are normally given a few days of rest and relaxation to do with it what they see fit. Ferdinand is well within his right to do some analysis as this could possibly be an area he is looking to go into when his playing days are over. The English media are always quick to get on the backs of their players and this has been one of the main contributing factors to their underachievement in major tournaments throughout the years. This will be water off a ducks back to Ferdinand, who has stuck to his principles and has nothing to be ashamed of. When he's lifting United's 20th title in May, nobody is going to doubt the courage of his conviction. The F.A on the other hand, is another matter entirely. Dean Jones: Follow me on Twitter @DeanJones_