Blanc says decision ‘not a sporting one’.
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Laurent Blanc has added fuel to the fire of the the Rio Ferdinand debate by suggesting the decision to leave the defender out of Euro 2012 was ‘not a sporting one’.
New England manager Roy Hodgson omitted Ferdinand altogether from his 23-man squad and then twice overlooked the 33-year-old when injures forced into defensive changes.
Everton’s Phil Jagielka and Martin Kelly, the Liverpool full-back with just one sub appearance for England to his name, were selected instead of the Manchester United stalwart.
Hodgson and the English Football Association have been accused of a ‘lack of respect’ by Ferdinand’s representatives and speculation that Hodgson was reluctant to pick both John Terry and Ferdinand has persisted.
Terry will stand trial in July for allegedly racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother, Anton, in a Premier League match between Chelsea and QPR in October last year.
Blanc, whose French side face England in the Group D opener on Monday, admitted his surprise at Ferdinand’s absence.
“It’s true that it was surprising not to see him picked given all the injuries they had in that sector. But I’m not in (Hodgson’s) position,” he told the Associated Press.
“I know Rio Ferdinand well, and I think the choice not to take him, from afar, is not a sporting one. There are other things, but I don’t want to get involved in the affairs of the English team. It’s not my job, it’s not my role.”
Although Hodgson has stressed that footballing reasons were behind the decision to omit the centre-half, who has 83 caps, Ferdinand recently tweeted, “what reasons?” in a clear indication he questioned the decision.