Patrice Evra is stunned at Roy Hodgson’s decision not to include his Manchester United teammate Rio Ferdinand in the England squad, claiming it gives an advantage to France.
“Of course I’m surprised Rio is not in the squad,” Evra said after Les Blues comprehensive 4-0 win over Estonia in their final Euro 2012 warm-up match.
“I don’t know what has happened. He is a big player, a strong player. Maybe the manager has good reasons but it’s good for France that he is not playing. I’m really disappointed for him because he is a good player.”
Despite a number of defensive injuries, Hodgson chose to leave the Old Trafford centre-half at home and cited “football reasons” for doing so.
England officials have insisted the snub was not due to the tension between Ferdinand and John Terry, stemming from the latter’s upcoming court case where he faces a charge of racially abusing Ferdinand’s younger brother Anton.
While many may have accepted that explanation after the initial selection, Gary Cahill’s withdrawal because of a fractured jaw and subsequent call up for Liverpool’s Martin Kelly, who only has a single senior cap, has undermined Hodgson’s position.
Evra is convinced that the absence of his United colleague will only serve to aid France’s cause when the two nations meet for the opening fixture of Group D in Poland and Ukraine.