ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson insists his shock decision to omit Rio Ferdinand from his Euro 2012 squad and pick John Terry was based solely on “footballing matters” and not the latter’s ongoing race row.
Chelsea captain Terry made the 23-man list despite facing a criminal trial in July over allegations, which he denies, that he racially abused Ferdinand’s brother, QPR defender Anton, in a match last year.
Teenage Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain received his first call-up, as did Norwich goalkeeper John Ruddy, while Hodgson, selecting his first squad since being appointed, named Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard captain for next month’s tournament.
Manchester United’s Ferdinand was left out, however, though Hodgson denied his judgment had been affected by the possibility of bad blood between the pair making it impossible to select both defensive stalwarts. “My decision with John Terry was based purely on footballing matters,” he said. “I was given a free hand as to the squad I picked. I realised there would be people who would raise eyebrows but that’s the decision that I’ve made; that’s the decision I shall live with.”
Hodgson emphasised he did not omit Ferdinand, 33, over fears he would not cope with a demanding schedule. “I’d be lying if that was the major reason,” he added. “It was purely on other footballing reasons.”
He cited Terry’s role in Chelsea’s strong finish to the season and rejected concerns that an impending trial would affect him.
“It’s not distracted him in lifting the FA Cup and helping his team reach a Champions League final,” said Hodgson.