Roy Hodgson refuses to gamble over Rio Ferdinand for Euro 2012
Rio Ferdinand has been left out of Roy Hodgson's England squad for Euro 2012, the first of a number of major decisions made by the new manager yesterday.
Hodgson has also decided to include the Liverpool striker Andy Carroll in his squad, despite the player's difficult first full season at his new club in which he has scored just nine goals in all competitions. Carroll has been chosen instead of Peter Crouch among Hodgson's strikers.
The decision to omit Ferdinand, 33, appears to have opened the door for John Terry to keep his place in the squad. Hodgson has long believed that he could not select both Ferdinand and Terry in the same squad with Terry's court case on 9 July for allegedly racially abusing Ferdinand's younger brother Anton looming.
The Tottenham right-back Kyle Walker had to withdraw from contention with a toe injury. Curiously, Manchester City's Micah Richards, another right-back, has not been included in the squad. The Everton centre-half Phil Jagielka has also been placed in the group of around five stand-by players and is not in Hodgson's first-choice 23 for the tournament.
Hodgson has also made a radical change to the pre-tournament preparations by cancelling England's training camp in Malaga next week at very short notice. The plan was for the squad – minus Wayne Rooney and the Chelsea contingent expected to play in Saturday's Champions League final – to fly to Spain on Monday. They would then go on to Oslo for the friendly against Norway on Saturday week.
Hodgson has changed the plans drawn up by his predecessor Fabio Capello because he wants the players to have a shorter week's training and spend less time away from their families before the tournament. The Football Association are now making contingency plans to base the squad at a hotel in Manchester and train at Manchester United's Carrington headquarters.
In the case of Ferdinand, Hodgson met with the defender last week and also took soundings from Sir Alex Ferguson, his United manager, who has publicly expressed his doubts as to whether Ferdinand's injury problems would take the strain of tournament football. Ferdinand was told yesterday by Hodgson, who finalised his squad in the late afternoon in a meeting with the FA and his staff.
In addition to the Terry question, the new England manager felt that he was taking too much of a risk on the player's fitness, a factor that Ferguson himself mentioned last week. "You play something like a game every four days," he said. "Rio couldn't do that." That is understood to have played a major role in Hodgson's decision.
Hodgson was at Chelsea's Cobham training ground early yesterday morning to see the England players at the club. He spoke individually with Terry, Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Gary Cahill and Daniel Sturridge. Terry is understood to have emphasised his commitment to England in spite of the FA's decision to strip him of the captaincy in February.
Walker has been left out the squad because of a toe injury that he picked up playing for Tottenham against Bolton Wanderers last month. In that light it is unexpected that Richards , who was frozen out by Capello, has been omitted.
The inclusion of Carroll is a brave step given that the Liverpool striker has only really hit form in his performances against Chelsea in the FA Cup final and then in the subsequent league game at Anfield. The striker has just three caps for England and has started only one game for his country, his last cap against Wales in September. Crouch, who has been left out by Hodgson, has scored 22 goals in 42 caps.
Hart Man City/25/17
G Johnson Liverpool/27/35
Lescott Man City/29/14
Jones Man United/20/4
A Cole Chelsea/31/93
Barry Man City/31/52
Young Man United/26/19
Milner Man City/26/24
Rooney Man United/26/73
Welbeck Man United 214