Rio Ferdinand is back in the England squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro this month.
Many would have thought that Rio Ferdinand’s England career was over, due to the reluctance of Roy Hodgson to pick the Manchester United centre back ever since he took football’s top job.
However, Ferdinand has forced his way back onto the international scene because he’s quite frankly been one of the best defenders in the Premier League this season. There are several reasons for his recall.
His form has been brilliant for United and it’s not come against weaker or lesser teams, it’s come against the best teams that Europe has to offer.
Ferdinand has played out of his skin against teams that were apparently going to exploit his minor weaknesses such as a lack of pace. He played awesomely in the recent Champions League matches against Real Madrid, which would have gone a long way to making Rodgers do a u-turn.
His conduct away from the pitch has been respectable and what anyone should expect from a top class professional player.
A lot of that has to do with his maturity as a player and the experience that comes with age. Had he been up to no good with various antics not relating to football, Hodgson probably would have left him where he was.
He’s also not made it a difficult decision for the England boss in the respect of comments made about his England position. Had he launched several scathing attacks on Hodgson then it would have caused friction with him going back into the England dressing room.
His leadership skills are also very important and a reason he’s been brought back for the next two qualifiers.
England are chasing Montenegro, a team they should get the better of by the time the qualifiers are over. However, Hodgson needs every bit of experience he can draw from his best players as England head into winnable but difficult away games.
A large chunk of the England squad is going to be looking to a player like Ferdinand if especially the qualifier away to Montenegro doesn’t start or pan out the way they would have expected.
Ferdinand has also been helped by injuries to other key defenders, which has probably forced Hodgson’s hand in bringing him back. Had Phil Jagileka of Everton been fit and available for selection then it may have been more difficult for Ferdinand to make the cut.
Why do you think he’s been brought back?
image: © Paolo Camera