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Roy Hodgson mad to sideline Rio Ferdinand

Published 20/02/2013

Standing in the queue for 'Flight Connections' at Heathrow last week, en route to Madrid, I saw Roy Hodgson walking by.

Not unreasonably, I assumed he'd be be on the same flight to see the biggest game of the season so far. We didn't look at each other. I think he 'rates' me as highly as I rate him.

But he wasn't on the plane and he wasn't in the Spanish capital. So we can only hope he deigned to watch the match on television. Otherwise he'll have missed another outstanding performance by Rio Ferdinand.

Now I am no 'friend' of the Manchester United defender. I don't forget how he once screamed abuse in my face at the end of a game at Old Trafford. However, as with Sir Alex, I won't let any personal animosity stand in the way of rightful admiration.

If Hodgson doesn't see the absurdity of his continuing to ignore Ferdinand in terms of the England team – I know well who I'd like to see lining up in Montenegro next month – then the national coach truly lives up to everything I think of him.

Belfast Telegraph

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