Sven-Goran Eriksson has described the row over Rio Ferdinand's omission from England's Euro 2012 squad as "a smear campaign" against manager Roy Hodgson

Eriksson, who managed England between 2001 and 2006, sympathises with Hodgson over his decision to leave the Manchester United defender out. Debate over Hodgson's stance has intensified since Gary Cahill was ruled out of the tournament and Liverpool's once-capped Martin Kelly was called up as a replacement.

Some believe that discredited Hodgson's claim that his snub of Ferdinand was a football decision and was instead a move to prevent any disharmony with John Terry, but Eriksson told the Daily Mirror: "Choosing Kelly over Ferdinand seems to have caught him in the crossfire and, having selected six Liverpool players, Roy is the target of a smear campaign."

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