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Why 'row' between Hodgson and Man Utd's Ferdinand never caught fire


Is this it? Is this all they can get on him? The worst of Roy Hodgson - that he should chat with fans about Rio Ferdinand on the Tube?

Instead of applauding Hodgson for being open enough to discuss football with fellow Tube travellers, many in the press feigned outrage, deploring Hodgson's (which is being disputed) claim that Ferdinand had "reached the end of the road".

We're talking about a defender who will be 35 years old in 2014. Is it really a surprise that Hodgson has chosen to go another way since his appointment? Ferdinand has been a great servant for both England and Manchester United, but does he really deserve selection after his performance against Tottenham last week?

He was excellent at Newcastle United, certainly, but the threat of Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse is very different to the pace of Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe - which truly left Ferdinand exposed at Old Trafford.

Even for all the initial bluster over his omission from Hodgson's Euros squad, there was hardly a peep about Ferdinand once the tournament was underway. The issue was forgotten. Joleon Lescott, fresh from winning the championship with Manchester City, stepped in and the team moved on.

And nothing has changed since this season kicked off.

If Hodgson was going to play Ferdinand, he'd pick him. But as Gary Neville said last week, the United defender had managed just THREE games for Fabio Capello in his final 18 months. Hodgson is building a new team, Lescott, Phil Jagielka (Everton) and Gary Cahill (Chelsea) are the focus. He'll take a look at Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross this week, Steven Caulker of Tottenham is now knocking on the door and there's big hopes around injured Manchester United pair Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.

So why the outrage? Why the demand for Hodgson to apologise to Ferdinand for having the gall of discussing his selection with England fans?

Is it really beyond the local press to simply accept they have a good football man in charge of the national team?

He's everything Fabio Capello wasn't. Open with the media. Enthusiastic and generous in interviews. Committed to the English game. Why go looking for problems that aren't there?

Karren Brady, the West Ham United vice-chairman, said on the weekend: "In my 20-years plus in this industry I have never known an England manager, when on a Premier League visit, to stay and watch the whole game.

"Instead, they normally arrive five minutes before the start of the match, with instructions that they are not to be approached in the boardroom, and then leave 15 minutes before the end.

"On Monday night we played against QPR at Loftus Road.

"Roy was there well before the kick-off and was still there well after the end, with a smile on his face that beamed pride in the job and gave me hope."

Hope, which seemed a distant emotion for England fans during the final months of the Capello era. But Hodgson has now restored the optimism around the national team - and without overblowing expectations. For the cynics, just take a step back and look at what you have, sometimes its worth considering the glass as half full.

Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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