England Veteran Reveals Dream of Playing for Country
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | February 6, 2013 12:45 AM EST
Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has revealed he is open to an England recall at any stage of his career. The veteran centre-back was left out of the England squad for last summer's European Championships, for what coach Roy Hodgson called "footballing reasons". Ferdinand, who will turn 35 in November, has failed to appear for the senior squad since then, or even earlier actually.
"I'm no different to anyone else - I love playing for England. If I'm not then I'll keep doing what I'm doing for Manchester United. It is what it is. I'm not being picked. The manager hasn't picked me. If I got picked I'd pack my bags and go straight there," the ex-West Ham defender said.
There was significant controversy in the run up to Euro 2012, with speculation Ferdinand was overlooked as the result of a racism row between Chelsea defender John Terry and Ferdinand's younger brother, Anton Ferdinand; Terry was picked for the squad. Hodgson denied that incident had anything to do with his snubbing of Ferdinand but a repeat of that snubbing, when a replacement was needed for Gary Cahill (Liverpool youngster Martin Kelly was picked), suggested Ferdinand's international career may have been over.
"When it came to bringing another player in, I wasn't going to bring in a player of Rio's age, class, background and experience to be a cover player. The difficult decision was whether to take Rio in the original 23 or not. That took a lot of soul-searching. When Cahill got injured that soul-searching never came up for me again," Hodgson said, defending his decision.
Ferdinand's comments now come against the backdrop of him not having been selected for the England squad to face Brazil in Wednesday's friendly. Terry hasn't been included either but the fact Hodgson has picked United's Chris Smalling is surprising, given the 23-year-old Smalling has made only 11 Premier League appearances this season, compared to Ferdinand's 20.
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