England manager Roy Hodgson has apologised to Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand for having discussed his international career with numerous passengers on a London Tube train, but he has denied making the suggestion that Ferdinand’s international career is over.
Hodgson chatted to commuters while on his way to watch Arsenal’s Champions League game with Olympiacos at the Emirates last night and was reported to have been asked whether he was considering a recall for Ferdinand in the wake of John Terry’s international retirement:
“I very much doubt it. He hasn’t played for England for quite a while,” Hodgson is reported to have replied.
“I have to say it is over for him and England. It has got to be the end of the road. He is pushing 34 and hasn’t played for England for a long, long time.”
However, Hodgson denied this afternoon that he said those words:
“Of course I didn’t say that Rio’s career was over. What I remember saying is talking to quite a lot of people on the tube, and one guy said, ‘Is Rio in the next squad?’, and I think I might have said ‘I don’t think so’. But I think that’s about as far as I went.
“But I shouldn’t say that of course. That’s a mistake and I need to apologise for that.
“But this is one of the hazards I suppose of travelling on tube trains which is the best way for me to come into London – and then speaking to people on the tube train who ask me questions rather than sitting there tight-lipped refusing to ever open my mouth.
“I’ve paid for it. I shall learn in future, and maybe this will be a lesson for all those people who see me on the tube.
“Please don’t be too offended if I refuse to answer any questions you ask me.”