At the time it didn’t seem to be that big of a deal because when you look through the list of included central defenders: Terry, Cahill, Jagielka, Lescott, Jones and put each up against Ferdinand it is debatable who is better. I simple put it down to Roy thinking that these included defenders are playing better than Ferdinand at this point in time.
However the whole situation has become a bit more sinister since the injury to Gary Cahill. One would assume that Rio is obviously next in line for a call up…but shockingly Hodgson has gone with Martin Kelly instead…
When you stack up the stats of Kelly versus Ferdinand this decision seems to make absolutely no footballing sense.
Rio Ferdinand – made 30 league appearances for Manchester United this season and they finished 2nd.
Martin Kelly – made 10 league appearances for Liverpool this season and they finished 8th.
And that’s just this season’s most recent and basic stats, which debunks the theory that Ferdinand is over the hill. If you look at the history of both players it is hands down no contest. Ferdinand with 81 senior England caps, 5 Premier League titles, 2 League Cups, a Champions League, and FA Cup; versus Martin Kelly with 1 League Cup.
In footballing terms it is the equivalent of saying “I would rather take 1 less player to the Euros than include Rio Ferdinand”.
The next argument is that Ferdinand is injury prone, but we are talking about the 5th in line center back spot. Hodgson has already shown that he has no problem including recently injured players, such as Terry, Gerrand, Welbeck, Parker, etc.. so I doubt this is Hodgson’s reasoning.
Some managers like to stamp their authority on the team by locking out a high profile player, Fabio Capello was certainly the type of manager to do that, but nothing about Roy makes me think he is of the same ilk in this regard.
My only conclusion is that there has to be some ulterior motive. Maybe Sir Alex made a man to man phone call to Hodgson saying in no uncertain terms “call up Ferdinand at your own peril”; it is, after all, well known that managers have been led on by the possibility of becoming the next Manchester United manager after the great man retires.
Or maybe behind the scenes Ferdinand’s personality is detrimental to team moral. When watching him in a losing situation he does seem to be one of those players who turns to his teammates and says “you guys suck”… as opposed to giving a rallying cry.
Whatever the reason for this decision it has to be something strange, because no one can tell me Martin Kelly is a better defender than Rio Ferdinand.