Roy Hodgson has revealed that he did have to make a choice between John Terry and Rio Ferdinand for his England squad at Euro 2012 due to the high-profile racism case against the former Chelsea defender. After England qualified for the 2012 European Championships, Hodgson was faced with choice between Chelsea centre-back Terry and Manchester United defender Ferdinand, but given the pair’s wealth of experience and pedigree at international level, the decision to leave out Ferdinand was deemed at the time to be for ‘non-footballing reasons’.
Hodgson faced with choice between Terry and Ferdinand
“Obviously, the furore which came about as a result of the Anton Ferdinand and John Terry situation was a massive topic at the time and a very controversial one,” said Hodgson.
“I’m not so certain, having got to know Rio a little bit in a conversation I had with him a little bit later on that he and John couldn’t have got along. But they did split not only the public opinion over which one was the better player, but they split the mass media as well.
“One had a powerful backing from one group of newspapers, and the other had powerful backing from the other. There was a fear that the animosity – if nothing else between the two newspapers and two factions – could cause us problems.
“I couldn’t go out at the time – and I think people now understand this – and say I can’t take both of them because of what’s going on [with the case] and therefore had to choose one. But I did have to choose one, basically, and then I had to stand by that decision.”
“They were different players and I thought at the time that I would’ve liked them both, but at the time I had to make a choice – I chose John. But to Rio’s great credit, when we needed him in the next qualifying campaign, in a match against Montenegro, we were desperately short of a centre-back and I had always admired him and he was playing well.
“I met him and asked if he would come back and play again, and fortunately – so I thought – he agreed, although I knew he had a problem with his back and I knew that he and Sir Alex [Ferguson] had come to the decision that he needed to rest during the international break.
“When we left the hotel and had our meeting, I was quite jubilant but unfortunately he had to pull out after discussions with the medical team at Manchester United. If he added England onto his duties with playing for United at that time, it was decided that it would be too much for him.”