Football

Hodgson 'disappointed' with Ferdinand withdrawal

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Roy Hodgson has admitted he is "disappointed" not to have Rio Ferdinand at his disposal for England's upcoming World Cup qualifiers - but refused to be drawn on the Manchester United defender's plans to fly to Qatar during to international break to work as a TV pundit.

Ferdinand earned his first call up for England since 2011 for the games against San Marino and Montenegro - but pulled out of the squad citing concerns that appearing for the Three Lions would interfere with his "pre-planned fitness regime", designed to help manage a long-term back problem.

However he courted controversy after it was revealed he would be making the 15-hour round trip to Qatar to cover the game against San Marino as a TV pundit - prompting the 34-year-old to take to Twitter to defend his actions.

Hodgson refused to be drawn on the issues surrounding Ferdinand's withdrawal and his subsequent plans during the international break, but admitted he was disappointed he wasn't part of the squad.

"I don't have any serious thoughts. I was disappointed when he couldn't join up with us because I picked him as one of our four defenders," he said.

"What he does now and how he operates in the coming couple of weeks is his business and the club's business. I'm not really interested in the players that aren't here."

"I just look at the players that are here in the squad and worry about them. It would have been nice for Rio to be here but he's not and we move on without him."

Doubts remain over whether Ferdinand will be able to add to his 81 caps after this incident, another issue Hodgson refused to comment on.

"It's more a question of how his injury situation will impact on him playing for England," he explained. "We will see. It is speculation about a long-term future but I am only focusing on the next two games."

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Topics:
Internationals
Football
Manchester United
Rio Ferdinand

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