Rio's return not ruled out

England manager Roy Hodgson says he would want further discussions about Rio Ferdinand's fitness before considering whether to give the defender another international chance.

Last Updated: 28/03/13 at 08:16 Post Comment

Roy Hodgson: England boss has not ruled out giving Rio Ferdinand another chance

Roy Hodgson: England boss has not ruled out giving Rio Ferdinand another chance

Hodgson picked Ferdinand in his initial squad for the World Cup double-header against San Marino and Montenegro, only for the defender to withdraw, citing an "intricate" and "pre-planned" training programme.

The 34-year-old then travelled to Qatar to commentate on England's hammering of San Marino, a move which was widely seen as an own goal by the Manchester United defender.

Hodgson said: "If he is going to play in the future there will have to be further discussions, not least about his fitness programme and his club.

"But I have absolutely nothing to add to what I said when his name came up before and I have no interest in discussing someone who isn't here."

The England manager was however happy to discuss the form of Ferdinand's replacements, Joleon Lescott and Chris Smalling, who played in the 1-1 draw with Montenegro.

"The two centre-backs did very well," Hodgson added.

"Smalling was excellent and Joleon Lescott did a very good job as well.

"I would have thought if there are two players who deserve to come out of this game with credit rather than any negativity it is the two centre-backs.

"Certainly it would be extremely unfair to suggest it was the performance of Smalling and Lescott which culminated in us drawing the game rather than winning it."

Important

Hodgson knows four weeks in the autumn will determine England's hopes of going to Brazil.

Tuesday's draw in Montenegro means the Three Lions have some work to do if they are to secure a place at Brazil 2014 with home games against Moldova, Montenegro and Poland to come, plus a trip to Ukraine in September.

However, nothing can be taken for granted, with England needing to make Wembley a fortress if they are to achieve their objectives.

"We have an important four or five weeks from the middle of September to the middle of October, with three matches at home and one difficult one away," said Hodgson.

"By not losing this week, we have given ourselves a chance.

"But it is not quite as simple as us against them. Montenegro have to play Poland and Ukraine and they have to play against each other."

The last England manager who failed to qualify for a major tournament, Steve McClaren, was sacked within 24 hours.

And though Bobby Robson is an obvious example of someone who missed out - at Euro 84 - yet remained in his job and went on to enjoy considerable success, it is widely assumed the minimum requirement for Hodgson, whose contract runs to 2016, is to reach Brazil.

"It is not for me to say (what the minimum requirement is)," said Hodgson.

"I care as much about qualifying as anyone else and will try to do the best job I can.

"But I do know my expectations are not going to vary from anybody else's. They are always very high.

"We, as footballers, coaches and fans, want England to qualify for the major tournaments. As yet, we have not failed to do so.

"Maybe that question will become a bit more relevant if the day ever comes when we do fail. Until such time as we do fail I prefer to look forward positively and keep working towards our goal."

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

E

ven if United were to sign CR7 & Messi to play upfront, the fact remains Fletcher and Cleverly are playing in midfield. That's where the problem is. Fletcher is too slow with an awful pass, while Cleverly is simply rubbish

mrunited4life
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

T

hese days, these days, you can't say something racist without somebody saying that you're a racist.

tk421
'Wrong' Views Not Silenced By Shouting...

D

rop Rooney (he's so disappointing, overrated and overpaid), and play Di Maria and RVP upfront, much like the set up at the Netherlands team with Roben and RVP...

eric bush3
Di Maria - A Signing of Necessity, or Opportunity?

Footer 365

Transfer news: Nikola Zigic's agent confirms Arsenal's interest

The agent of ex-Birmingham striker Nikola Zigic has told SPORT that Arsenal have expressed an interest in his client.

Premier League: Crystal Palace unveil Neil Warnock as new manager

Neil Warnock has returned to Crystal Palace after being named as the new manager on a two-year deal.

Manchester United signing Angel di Maria claims he was forced out of Real Madrid

Manchester United signing Angel di Maria has claimed he never wanted to leave Real Madrid.

Mail Box

Should Kagawa Play Ahead Of Mata?

That's one question posed in the afternoon mailbox, although it looks like the Japanese playmaker could soon be on his way. Plus, tipping Palace to go down under Warnock...

Well, This Isn't Going That Well Is It?

Plenty of fall out from Manchester United's shambolic 4-0 League Cup defeat, plus thoughts on Van Persie, Arsenal strikers, Benik Afobe, Celtic and Astroturf...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property