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Ferdinand forgives Hodgson for gaffe
Rio Ferdinand has accepted Roy Hodgson's apology for the botched handling of the Manchester United defender's omission from the latest England squad.
Ferdinand learned he was not going to be selected on Thursday morning after Hodgson made some rather loose comments to a fellow passenger on the Tube heading to Arsenal's Champions League encounter with Olympiacos at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night.
In addition to confirming the 33-year-old was not going to be selected for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland, Hodgson also indicated Ferdinand's international career was over despite John Terry's retirement from England duty.
The words underlined Hodgson's squad announcement, in which there was no place for Ferdinand but a recall for Stoke's Ryan Shawcross, whose only previous call-up came under Fabio Capello in 2010.
Hodgson acknowledged he had made a mistake imparting such sensitive information to a random member of the public. And whilst he was unable to make contact with Ferdinand when he called on Thursday morning, the England coach made it clear he was unhappy at his actions, even if the brutal reality is the defender's 81-cap England career is almost certainly over.
"I am disappointed that a stray conversation has been reported," he said. "I didn't say Rio's career was over. I might have admitted, foolishly I guess, and I only have myself to blame, that I wasn't going to choose him in this squad.
"I am just disappointed this could be seen as a lack of respect to Rio which is something I would shy away from. I have the utmost respect for him, as a person and a player. It is not for me to call time on anyone's career. I would never dream of calling time on anyone's career. It is up to an individual player to decide if he doesn't want to play anymore and when I speak to Rio I will make that very clear to him."
It is understood the direct conversation between Hodgson and Ferdinand is still to take place. But the FA have been informed the 33-year-old accepts the apology and bears no personal grudge towards Hodgson. There is a certain naivety about Hodgson that means it is certainly plausible that he could get into a public chat and give away such information.
But it is a lesson the 65-year-old will learn from very quickly. "All I remember was that I was talking to quite a lot of people on the Tube and one guy said 'is Rio in the next squad?'," he said.
"I think I might have said 'I don't think so' and that is about as far as I went. But I shouldn't say that of course. It's a mistake and I need to apologise for it."