Hodgson sorry for telling fans Ferdinand was out
WEMBLEY, England (AP) -England coach Roy Hodgson had to apologize to Rio Ferdinand on Thursday after telling fellow Tube passengers that the veteran defender was out of contention for the team.
Hodgson's lack of discretion on the London Underground on Wednesday led to his comments being published before he publicly announced the squad, with the coach appearing to write off a player who has made 81 England appearances.
"I have tried to get in touch with Rio today,'' Hodgson said Thursday. "I am disappointed that a stray conversation has been reported in that way. I didn't say Rio's career was over. I might have admitted, foolishly I guess, and I only have myself to blame, that I wasn't going to choose him in this squad. I am just disappointed this could be seen as a lack of respect to Rio. ... It's a mistake and I need to apologize for that.
Hodgson said he prefers traveling on the Underground and enjoys engaging with fans, but that he will be a bit more careful from now on when it comes to answering their questions.
"This is one of the hazards I suppose of travelling on Tube trains when you go up to London, which is the best way for me to travel, and then of course speaking to people who ask me questions rather than sitting there tight-lipped refusing to ever open my mouth,'' Hodgson said. "I've paid for it. I shall learn in future and maybe this will be a lesson for all the people who see me on the Tube in future: please don't be too offended if I refuse to answer any questions you ask me.''
Ferdinand was overlooked Thursday for upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland as uncapped center back Ryan Shawcross received his second international call-up.
Hodgson's options in central defense have been reduced by John Terry quitting England duty last month before he was found guilty by the Football Association of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother, Anton.
"John Terry's retirement does not have an impact on whether I pick Rio at all,'' Hodgson said.
Ahead of the European Championship in June, Hodgson insisted that Ferdinand was not selected for "football reasons,'' rather than his differences with Terry.
But while Ferdinand has started United's recent Champions League and Premier League games, center back Joleon Lescott retains his place in the England squad despite being dropped for key Manchester City matches this season.
"I am staying with the players I selected for the Euros,'' Hodgson said. "I am looking to the future. It is not for me to call time on anyone's career. I would never dream of calling time on anyone's career. It is up to an individual player to decide when he is not selected if he doesn't want to play anymore. When I speak to Rio I will make that very clear to him.''
Shawcross will be hoping to make his England debut after the Stoke captain was called up by former England coach Fabio Capello in 2010 but did not play. Gary Cahill and Phil Jagielka are the other center backs in the squad.
Strikers Wayne Rooney and Andy Carroll return after being injured for the first two qualifiers last month - a victory over Moldova and a draw with Ukraine.
England hosts San Marino, which is at the bottom of the FIFA rankings, on Oct. 12 at Wembley Stadium before playing Poland away on Oct. 16.
In Warsaw, left back Ashley Cole could make his 100th England appearance. Kieran Gibbs, who made two appearances in friendlies in 2010, has been drafted in as cover for Cole, taking Ryan Bertrand's place in the squad.
The only player based outside England in the 25-man squad is goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who has received his first England call up. The Celtic player is likely to be behind John Ruddy and first-choice goalkeeper Joe Hart.
In midfield, Aaron Lennon is back in contention after helping Tottenham rise to fifth in the Premier League.
Goalkeepers: Fraser Forster (Celtic), Joe Hart (Manchester City), John Ruddy (Norwich)
Defenders: Leighton Baines (Everton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Kieran Gibbs (Arsenal), Phil Jagielka (Everton), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Joleon Lescott (Manchester City), Ryan Shawcross (Stoke), Kyle Walker (Tottenham)
Midfielders: Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Tom Cleverley (Manchester United), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Adam Johnson (Sunderland), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Manchester City), Theo Walcott (Arsenal)
Forwards: Andy Carroll (Liverpool), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Danny Welbeck (Manchester United)