Monday, 18 March 2013

Rio furore a waste as defender withdraws from England

The mass debate that surrounded Roy Hodgson’s decision to recall Rio Ferdinand to the England squad appears to have been a complete waste of time after the defender announced his withdrawal from this week’s World Cup qualifiers.

Ferdinand’s inclusion sparked huge interest in the betting world with fans, pundits and pub landlords alike all happy to give their views on the decision to recall the centre-back.

For many, the defender’s return would only further signify Hodgson’s weak management, for the boss only last years excluded Ferdinand for England’s Euro 2012 squad. For others, however, Rio’s comeback was to spark a greater solidarity in England’s defence that could prove vital to their qualification for Brazil.

Regardless of which argument has most truth, the fact is Rio now won’t don the England shirt for upcoming clashes against San Marino and Montenegro.

The reason for his withdrawal is based on Ferdinand’s physical routine at club side Manchester United, where his deteriorating body is kept in check via a “detailed medical programme he must follow” – according to Hodgson.

So while he is happy to play for England, his appearances must come in line with his progression at Old Trafford.

The more suspicious of England fans in World cup 2014 betting markets may wonder if United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has had any influence over proceedings, but we are not here to point fingers.

Instead, fans should just be pleased Ferdinand is willing to play for his country and put previous bad blood – such as his relationship with Ashley Cole – behind him. He is a professional and a good one at that, and if his influence on the team helps us qualify for Brazil 2014 then Hodgson’s decision to bring him back will be more than vindicated.