Hodgson admits sorting Terry-Rio problem a priority
Roy Hodgson said yesterday that one of his first tasks as England manager was to resolve any differences between John Terry and Rio Ferdinand over the race case involving the latter's brother Anton that threatens to divide the squad ahead of the European Championship.
The West Bromwich Albion manager signed a four-year contract yesterday, having recognised that there was an "unbelievable" amount of work to be done in the "40 days and 40 nights" before England play their first game of Euro 2012 against France.
Central to that will be discovering whether Ferdinand can play alongside Terry, who is in court on July 9 to answer the charge of racially aggravated abuse against the Manchester United defender's sibling.
Hodgson said yesterday that he would try to speak to the two players in advance of him naming the squad for the European Championship on May 14.
Hodgson said: "I'll have to get in touch with John and Rio to speak with them, hopefully face-to-face, and find out where they are in this situation.
"And not just those two. I'll have to speak to as many senior players as I can. Until such time as I've actually spoken to them and found out where they stand in relation to the current situation, it would be wrong of me to comment."
Football Association chairman David Bernstein refused even to discuss other candidates for the job, and did not mention Harry Redknapp, the previous favourite for the post, by name in either of his two press conferences yesterday.
He said that the four men on the Club England board came to their decision one month ago, but left their official approach to West Brom until last weekend because they believed the club would have blocked any attempt to speak to Hodgson before then.
Hodgson said that he had great "empathy" for Redknapp's situation, but that the Tottenham Hotspur manager, who was overlooked for the job, would not want his sympathy. In a nod to the popular support for Redknapp, Hodgson said that he would "have to be on another planet not to be aware" of the situation he found himself in as the surprise choice for the job.
Hodgson confirmed that he would take Wayne Rooney to Euro 2012, despite the United striker being suspended for the first two games of the tournament.
He also strongly hinted that he would pick just 23 players on May 13 to take to the pre-tournament camp in Marbella instead of the approach of his predecessor, Fabio Capello, who took 30 away before the last World Cup finals and cut seven of them.
Hodgson will stay in charge of West Brom for their final two games of the season.
There was no confirmation that caretaker boss Stuart Pearce would continue to be involved as a coach. Nor did Hodgson give any clues as to his early thoughts on who his captain might be.
Bernstein said that there were no break clauses in Hodgson's four-year contract that would -- depending on qualification -- take in this summer's European Championship, the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil and Euro 2016 in France.
Addressing the issue of his nine unhappy months as Liverpool manager, Hodgson said that there was "one major difference" between his time at the club and this latest appointment.
"The people at Liverpool who appointed me didn't have a chance to stay very long and others took over the club," he said.
"The FA had a lot of time to decide which candidate they wanted to do the job, and I'm happy it was me." (© Independent News Service)