Recalls for United and Spurs stars
England manager Roy Hodgson has recalled Manchester United’s Rio Ferdinand to the squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.
The defender has 81 caps to his name, but last featured in an international in a 2-2 draw against Switzerland in June 2011.
The call-up came as a shock as the 34-year-old’s England career looked over after he was controversially left out of the team for the Euros in Poland and Ukraine.
That came following a conflicting feud between John Terry and Ferdinand’s brother Anton amid speculation of racist abuse on the pitch – Terry denied all charges and was cleared in court, but still faced a ban and a fine from the FA over the incident.
At the time, Hodgson claimed he left Ferdinand out for “footballing reasons”, but now that Terry has retired from international football, it seems the Manchester United veteran is back in the loop.
“It’s a no brainer,” said manager Roy Hodgson, as reported by the BBC.
“We need a good centre-half. It’s not really much more complicated that that.
“There’s no sinister connection with his lack of selection in the past.”
He continued: “He’s playing well, his team are doing extremely well and this is the moment to select him because he deserves it on current form.
“Hopefully he can help us win the next two matches because that’s the most important thing.”
In a further twist, there could be ill thoughts between Ferdinand and Chelsea’s Ashley Cole after Ferdinand was found guilty of improper conduct and fined £45,000 by the FA for re-tweeting a message about the Blues left-back calling him a “choc ice” in August 2012.
But Hodgson was quick to deny any rift.
He added: “They were very good friends but we’re talking about an England football team, not individuals.
“I would expect the pair of them to do their job. I don’t envisage any problems.
“If there are, I’ll deal with them and I’m hoping the long-term friendship will re-emerge and anything else will be forgotten.”
Should things go well, Ferdinand may even feature in England’s 2014 World Cup tournament in Brazil should they qualify.
England play San Marino on Friday 22 March and then Montenegro on Tuesday 26 March in order to try and win their Group H.
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