It is the subject that has English football fans gathered around the water cooler. Is it code, is it a slap in the face for Rio Ferdinand, is it a conspiracy or is it something different and altogether more sinister? There’s no doubt about it, the phrase “football reasons” has people talking, arguing and has at least one Ferdinand tweeting.
Roy Hodgson is a vastly experienced and well traveled manager but I doubt he has ever made any decision that is getting as much scrutiny as leaving Rio Ferdinand in the International wilderness.
If we try to make sense of “football reasons” it has to come down to certain things such as form, fitness and experience. If we look at each one individually you can see why people are talking.
Take form for instance. Ferdinand was at the heart of the second best defence in the Premier League last season. He had to contend with losing his rock steady partner in Nemanja Vidic. He then formed a partnership with Jonny Evans that got stronger as the campaign got on. He may have lost a step in recent times but if you think back how many times did you see him get roasted by an opposing attacker, how many times did you see him get caught out of position or how many times did you see him carelessly giving the ball away.
The point is if it’s purely on form then Rio should be packing his bags for a trip to Eastern Europe. However there’s more to consider.
How about fitness. Everybody knows about Rio’s injury problems the last few seasons. His back problem has led to missed games for club and country. It has also had a direct affect on his speed and has indirectly led niggling muscle injuries but last season when Manchester United need him he was there. The loss of Vidic would have been terminal for Sir Alex’s campaign if it was partnered by another hamstrung season from Rio. The stats don’t lie though – 30 starts in the league, 38 appearances in all competitions – show that he played in more games than Phil Jagielka and Martin Kelly did last season.
His club manager Sir Alex said that there could be problems if he played twice a week but Rio wasn’t going to start and even now would find himself behind Terry and Lescott. ow fit do you need to be to sit on the bench?
Why should Rio get a call up if he is just looking at a squad role? Experience. He has been to 4 World Cups (playing in 3) and has 81 caps to his name. With inexperienced club mates Phil Jones and Danny Welbeck going why would you not want someone who they train with day in day out, someone who they know, respect and listen to. Then again Ferdinand has never played in the European Championships so maybe that lack of experience went against him.
After all the evidence and opinion there is one thing that I haven’t mentioned. Morale. Squad harmony is crucial at a major tournament. Without it Greece wouldn’t have won this tournament 8 years ago. Hodgson can’t afford to have his squad split into two camps in his first tilt at the European Championship. There is no guarantee that Terry and Ferdinand would be destructive influences but there is no guarantee it would go the other way either.
Should Roy have reversed the roles or even dropped them both. That’s a debate for another day and certainly for an England squad not ravaged by injury. Only Roy Hodgson will know what he intended when he said “football reasons” and only time will tell if he was right.
In Other news: A special congratulations to the Scotland Rugby team who secured only there second win over Australia on Australian soil. The conditions were atrocious and they played magnificently. Well done boys and well done Andy Robinson who has been under tremendous pressure recently.
- 30 Sexiest WAGs Of 2012
- 50 Sexiest Women You’ve Probably Never Heard Of
- 10 Most Paused Movie Moments
- Football’s Worst Ever Cheating Divers
- 10 Great Footballers Who Made Terrible Managers
- 100 Greatest Premier League Players Of All Time
- 50 Great Footballers Who Ruled 2012
- 15 Worst Ever Premier League Signings