Rio Ferdinand is said to be "infuriated" at Roy Hodgson after the England coach told passengers travelling through the London Underground that the Manchester United centre-backs' days of playing internationally for England are over.
Hodgson had not personally spoken with Ferdinand, who has earned 81 caps for his country since his senior squad debut in 1997, regarding his thoughts on the 33-year-olds' future, instead choosing to air his thoughts to his fellow passengers on the tube.
It is alleged that when commuters enquired about whether or not Ferdinand had an international future, Hodgson replied: "I very much doubt it. He hasn’t played for England for quite a while. I have to say it is over for him and England.
"It has got to be the end of the road. He is pushing 34 and hasn’t played for England for a long, long time."
While Hodgson's attempt to mingle with the public and talk football with the fans should be appreciated, especially considering it was predecessor Fabio Capello's lack of communication that saw him become reviled by supporters, casually discussing an England veteran's international career (or lack thereof) on public transport is NOT the way to garner support.
However, Hodgson seems to have realised this, issuing an indirect apology to Ferdinand:
“I’m very disappointed that my travelling on the Tube and apparently suggesting Rio’s career is over to a passing punter has been recorded. I’ll try and reach Rio because he deserves an apology from me. To find out he’s been excluded from the squad in that way, I’m disappointed with that, of course.
“I’m sorry about it and I’ll give him my sincere apologies. I’ve got nobody to blame but myself. If Rio is still interested after what he might regard as an insult – although it wasn’t intended as such – if he doesn’t turn his back on us, I’m not going to turn my back on him.
"All I can say is that I’m definitely not closing the door on Rio. I respect the man and respect the player. But the point is I am looking forward. He didn’t feature in my plans for the Euros. Since then the players I’ve used have done well for me, and I’m sticking with them. I’m trying to look two years ahead and rejuvenate the squad.
“When the day comes that I call him it will be to play in the team, not to be a part of a squad looking ahead two years to Brazil. That’s how it is. It is up to him to decide, if I ever do go to him, whether he wants to be a part of it or not.
“This is one of the hazards I suppose of travelling by Tube when you go up to London and then speaking to people, who ask me questions, rather than sitting there tight-lipped, refusing to open my mouth.
“I’ve paid for it. I shall learn in future and maybe this will be a lesson for all the people who see me on the Tube in future: please don’t be too offended if I refuse to answer any questions you ask me.”
The FA released a statement last night regarding the incident, stating that "Roy has left a personal message on Rio's voicemail" and that they had received a "confirmation back from Rio's advisors" that the apology had been accepted. For details of Hodgson's new England line-up click right here.
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