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European Qualifiers Group E

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European Qualifiers Group E

Hodgson silent on Rio chants

Roy Hodgson declined to comment on the chants by England fans about Rio Ferdinand during the 8-0 World Cup qualifying win over San Marino.

Last Updated: 23/03/13 at 20:09 Post Comment

Roy Hodgson: England coach not commenting on Rio Ferdinand abuse

Roy Hodgson: England coach not commenting on Rio Ferdinand abuse

Ferdinand withdrew from the squad for the away double-header against San Marino and Montenegro due to his 'intricate and pre-planned' fitness regime.

However, the Manchester United defender created a further talking point by travelling to Qatar to be a TV pundit for Friday's victory and that prompted a fierce reaction from the England fans in attendance at the game.

The 34-year-old defended his trip to the Middle East, while Hodgson would not be drawn on the abuse which has prompted claims it will be difficult for the England coach to select Ferdinand again.

"Of course I heard it," Hodgson said. "I'm not deaf. But I've absolutely no comment to make on it."

Ferdinand, speaking during his media engagement in Qatar, repeated his earlier belief he has done nothing to be ashamed of.

He said: "This is something I've done in past international get-togethers when I've not been involved."

Meanwhile, Hodgson confirmed that Chelsea centre-half Gary Cahill and Arsenal winger Theo Walcott will not be available for Tuesday's crucial qualifier against group leaders Montenegro.

"We did have some forlorn hope that Gary Cahill might recover," Hodgson said. "But I was warned it was extremely unlikely, and he's not trained yet so there's no chance of him joining us.

"And right at the start of training yesterday, Theo Walcott was crossing a ball. The pitch was slippy, he followed up the cross and immediately felt a twinge in his pelvic area.

"We took him for a scan and there's a slight tear in a very unusual area. He's going back home, but hopefully he won't be out for too long."

Defeat in Montenegro would leave England five points adrift of first place in the group, but Hodgson does not feel such a result would wreck his team's prospects of qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil.

"It would be a great lift to win on Tuesday, but if we don't get it I won't be getting the spade out to dig a grave for the team," Hodgson said.

"There are 15 points to play for and the team is capable of getting a large number of those points to see us through.

"Beating Brazil gave us confidence and most people will look at the football we played [against San Marino] and revel in the fact there were exceptional moves and goals in there."

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