Friday 20 April 2018

Rio Ferdinand joins Manchester United tour despite FA probe over 'choc ice' tweet

Denied: Rio Ferdinand insisted the phrase he used in his tweet had no racist connotations. Photo: PA
Denied: Rio Ferdinand insisted the phrase he used in his tweet had no racist connotations. Photo: PA

Rio Ferdinand will fly to South Africa with Manchester United this morning as the former England defender prepares to return to action amid an escalating race row in the wake of John Terry's acquittal on a charge of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand.

United centre-half Ferdinand, whose omission from Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad on the grounds of 'football reasons' led to claims that he had been overlooked in order to avoid his presence alongside Terry in Poland and Ukraine, has yet to speak publicly about the court case involving his brother Anton.

Ferdinand has caused controversy, however, with tweets over the weekend appearing to criticise Chelsea defender Ashley Cole's role as a witness at the trial.

With the damaging row threatening to continue into the new season, and potentially threaten relations among senior players in the England squad, the Football Association could act in the situation today by contacting the figures involved.

Ferdinand, however, is due to fly to Durban with the United team this morning for the first-leg of the club's pre-season tour, which also sees Sir Alex Ferguson's team play in China, Norway, Sweden and Germany before the Premier League opener against Everton next month.

With several leading players still on extended breaks following duty at Euro 2012, and a number also preparing to play at the Olympics, Ferdinand will be one of a handful of senior players on the flight to Durban.

Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick and the out-of-favour Dimitar Berbatov are set to travel, but Nemanja Vidic, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling are to remain in Manchester in an attempt to overcome recent injuries.

United begin their tour with a game against Amazulu in Durban in Wednesday evening.

Manchester United Tour squad:

Anders Lindegaard, Michael Carrick, Ben Amos, Nick Powell, Sam Johnstone, Anderson, Marnick Vermijl, Javier Hernandez, Frederic Veseli, Federico Macheda, Rio Ferdinand, Shinji Kagawa, Scott Wootton, Dimitar Berbatov, Robert Brady, Tyler Blackett, Antonio Valencia, Bebe, Jesse Lingard, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Paul Scholes, Davide Petrucci

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