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Roy casts doubt on Rio future

Roy Hodgson has refused to confirm whether Rio Ferdinand has an England future following his decision to fly to Qatar.

Last Updated: 21/03/13 at 19:05 Post Comment

The Manchester United centre-half this week turned down a first call-up since the summer of 2011, telling Hodgson he did not want to disrupt a pre-planned fitness programme.

But in the days since explaining his position to Hodgson, Ferdinand has been forced to defend a trip to the Middle East which will include a media engagement covering England's World Cup qualifier against San Marino.

Hodgson said on Monday he was "looking forward to hopefully selecting Rio for squads in the future", but asked again whether Ferdinand is part of his future plans the manager said: "We should just wait and see."

Asked for his opinion on Ferdinand's trip, he said: "I don't have any serious thoughts on it. The fact is I was disappointed when he couldn't accept our invitation.

"What he actually does now and how he operates in the coming couple of weeks, that's his business and his club's business. I'm only interested in the players I've got here. That's where I prefer to have my focus."

And pressed on whether England's medical staff could have managed Ferdinand's programme, he said: "You're asking me questions I don't want to go into.

"Of course I respect our medical staff - I think they're very, very good. But Rio made it clear he wasn't able to accept my invitation on this occasion, and we'll see what happens in future."

Ferdinand's withdrawal has led to speculation Michael Carrick could be asked to drop into the back four in San Marino, but Hodgson all but ruled out that possibility.

He said: "I'd be loath to start using someone like Michael Carrick, it would be enormously harsh on the four centre-halves we've got here."

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