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Hodgson ponders Ferdinand future
10:10am Friday 22nd March 2013 in Sport
RIO FERDINAND must “wait and see” to see if he has an England future after creating more headlines by flying to Doha to commentate on his country’s World Cup qualifier with San Marino this evening.
Roy Hodgson would give no firm assurances on what lies ahead internationally for Ferdinand, who withdrew from the squad on Monday to follow a pre-planned fitness routine.
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has often spoke of Ferdinand having to battle to overcome a back problem.
But Ferdinand has now taken to the air to visit the Aspire training academy before appearing as a pundit for Al Jazeera television in the Gulf state for the San Marino match.
It will involve a 15-hour round trip for the 34-year-old player, who won the last of his 81 caps nearly two years ago.
When asked if Ferdinand has an international future, Hodgson said: “I think we should wait and see. It’s more a question of whether his injury situation will impact upon him playing for England.
“We will have to wait and see what happens in the future.
“Once again at the moment, it is speculation about the longer term future whereas my thoughts are on these next two games.
‘‘I am happy with the squad I’ve got and the attitude and good feeling that exists amongst the players.’’ Hodgson refused to comment on Ferdinand’s lengthy flight to Doha.
He said: ‘‘It has got nothing to do with me. That’s the bottom line. I was disappointed he couldn’t take up our invitation.
‘‘He was selected on merit and it would have been good to have him here because he has been playing well.
‘‘But it wasn’t possible due to the fact he had to go through his programme of regeneration and keeping up his fitness there.
‘‘I accepted that at the time and I accept that now so what he does in this two weeks is no longer my concern.
‘‘Like I said, my concern actually is the players we have here. They are the ones I am focusing on and right now are important to me because they will take us through the next two games.’’ Hodgson insists he has no regrets about how he has handled the events of the last ten days which saw Ferdinand selected for the first time since he took charge of England ten months ago.
Ferdinand was not contacted directly by Hodgson before the squad was announced at a Wembley press conference a week ago, but then ruled himself out of contention on Monday.
Hodgson said: ‘‘No, of course I wouldn’t do anything different. I don’t know what I can do any different.
‘‘Basically speaking, the idea of having squad announcements is to announce the squad you have selected.
‘‘Basically, there are occasions when I communicate with players I’m leaving out of the squad, especially if they’ve been in before and I’ve got to put someone fresh in.
‘‘It might have been naive, but I always believed people who are selected are going to want to be there and pleased to be selected and don’t need to be told in advance.’’ Hodgson also confirmed Gary Cahill will miss Tuesday’s game in Montenegro with a knee problem after being ruled out of tonight’s game.
But he has faith in the four centre-backs at his disposal - Joleon Lescott, Chris Smalling, Steven Taylor and Steven Caulker.
He has dismissed the possibility of employing midfielder Michael Carrick in the role he has sometimes operated in as an emergency for Manchester United.
Hodgson said: ‘‘We have selected Michael Carrick as a midfielder and we have got four centre-backs.
‘The fact is we have got four centre-backs who play every week and I selected Michael to play in the midfield.’’ Hodgson will not underestimate San Marino despite England being odds-on favourites to triumph after their 5-0 win at Wembley earlier in the campaign.
He said: ‘‘I think people in the street will have the same attitude as the players and myself.
‘‘I think everyone understands it is not quite as easy as turning a tap on and saying you are much better than the opponents, that you are going to score a lot of goals.
‘‘Look at the FA Cup and teams in Division Two taking Premier League teams to replays let alone not conceding a hatful of goals.”