Blanc: Ferdinand’s omission not ‘sporting’

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France manager Laurent Blanc does not believe Rio Ferdinand’s England omission is down to “football reasons”, as Roy Hodgson claims.

The Manchester United defender was left out of the original squad and Liverpool’s Martin Kelly, who has only two minutes of international experience, was chosen to replace Gary Cahill when the Chelsea man withdrew with a broken jaw.

New England manager Hodgson insisted the Old Trafford veteran’s absence was nothing to do with the tension between he and John Terry.

Blanc does not believe there are only tactical factors being taken into consideration and admitted he was surprised not to see Ferdinand go to Poland and Ukraine.

“I think Rio Ferdinand is a very good player, even though he might be coming to the end of his career,” he told the media on Thursday.

“But it's true that it was surprising not to see him picked given all the injuries they had in that sector. But I'm not in [Hodgson's] position.”

“Every team has its problems. We have a few, the English might have some. With the English it seems to be injury problems.

“I know Rio Ferdinand well, and I think the choice not to take him, from afar, is not a sporting one.

“There are other things, but I don't want to get involved in the affairs of the English team. It's not my job, it's not my role.”

Blanc leads his France side out against England on Monday for the first round of fixtures in Group D at the Donbass Arena in Donetsk, Ukraine.

With Ferdinand overlooked, Manchester City centre-back Joleon Lescott is expected to partner Terry at the heart of defence.

Blanc mentioned his own squad’s injury problems and he could be forced to deploy Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny in midfield due to worries over the fitness of all France’s main holding midfielders.

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