Roy Hodgson not committing to Rio Ferdinand’s England future after snub
ENGLAND manager Roy Hodgson has said he will "wait and see" if Rio Ferdinand has an international future, following the player's decision to miss the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.
Manchester United defender Ferdinand opted to miss the games in order to manage his fitness when Hodgson wanted to bring him back into the England fold.
It has since emerged that Ferdinand will travel to Doha, where he will work as a TV pundit on both England games.
At his last press conference before tomorrow's game with San Marino, Hodgson said he would "wait and see" when asked if Ferdinand has an international future.
When pushed on Ferdinand 's future as an England players, Hodgson said: "I think we should just wait and see, I think it's more a question of how his injury situation will impact upon him playing for England, so we'll have to wait and see what happens in the future.
"At the moment it's speculation about a longer-term future whereas my focus is on these next two games, which are important for us in our bid to qualify. I am happy with the squad we've got."
Ferdinand had been due to return as an England player for the first time since missing out on Euro 2012.
Hodgson deflected questions on what he thought of Ferdinand's decision to miss the two games.
He said: "I don't have any serious thoughts on it. I was disappointed when he couldn't accept our invitation. It would have been nice to have him here."
Hodgson also refused to comment on Ferdinand's decision to go to Doha.
"As we all know he wasn't able to accept the invitation so what he actually does now and how he operates in the coming couple of weeks, that's his business and the club's business.
"You're asking me questions that I really don't want to go into."
Hodgson preferred to concentrate on the players who would be representing England.
"It really shows a lack of respect to some extent for the players who are here," he said.
"In this instance Rio made it clear that he wasn't able to accept my invitation on this occasion and we will see what happens in the future.
"What happens during this period of time when he's looking after himself, it's up to us to look after ourselves and do the job we've got to do in these next two matches."
England captain Steven Gerrard admitted he was disappointed Ferdinand had withdrawn but refused to comment on the player's decision.
"I don't think it's for me to comment. That's something for the manager to deal with to be honest. I just look at the players in the squad and worry about them players really.
"Of course it's disappointing Rio's not here, because he's a fantastic player and he's in top form, and it would've been nice for him to be here, but he's not, we move on without him and training's been really good."
Asked if England can cope without Ferdinand, Gerrard said: "Yes I do, certainly on the evidence I've seen in training the last few days.
"Repeating what the manager said, the four guys have been working hard and training well and they are all pushing for places.
"I'm confident that they can not only do the job tomorrow but on Tuesday night as well."
Despite Ferdinand's absence it looks unlikely Hodgson will use Michael Carrick as a central defender.
Hodgson added: "I think we've got four very good players here. I would be loath to be using Carrick, who has been selected for his prowess as a midfielder.
"It would be enormously harsh on the four centre-backs we have who are all vying for a place in the team."
England head into tomorrow's match lying in second place in Group H, two points behind Montenegro and eight better off than rock-bottom San Marino, who have yet claim a point or even score a goal in their four qualifiers so far.
England are overwhelming favourites to win the match but Hodgson insists they are treating their opponents with respect.
"I've made it clear that we're focusing on this game and when that's over we're looking at Montenegro," he said.
"I think it's sometimes very disrespectful to write off San Marino. As a small country they've not been capable of producing great results at the very top level like the Brazils and Germanys, but considering the size of the country they've done remarkably well.
"Not only England, but other teams have found that when you play against them you need to be at your very very best and even then it's not an easy game to win.
"I want to emphasise that there should be no lack of respect for San Marino. This game is not won. We don't expect a pushover, we don't expect to walk on the pitch and win comfortably."
Gerrard said a three-point haul tomorrow was the most important thing, rather than how many goals England could win by.
"In an ideal situation we win comfortably and put on a show for everyone watching back home and also the 3,000 fans who have come out here to watch us, but of course the three points are the most important thing," he said.
"We get the same out of this game as hopefully we'll get on Tuesday night, they're both big games.
"On Wednesday morning hopefully we'll be in the driving seat in this group.
"If we take six points we can go away and enjoy the summer as far as England games are concerned and then we come back next season ready to win the group."
The Liverpool stalwart also reported a positive mood in the England camp going into the qualifying double-header, with the squad boosted by their friendly win over Brazil last time out.
"We've had a fantastic week's training, everyone's fit and available, everyone's happy and we're all looking forward to tomorrow's game," he said.
"We're certainly not lacking confidence or belief, especially off the back of the Brazil result, so things are good."