Fair play to Rio Ferdinand?

Would you have been tempted to tell Roy Hodgson to stick it when called upon for England; just like the Manchester United man did?

For one minute I need you to clear your minds. In particular the part of the brain that still has that little boy or girl shouting out. If you are as passionate a football fan as I am then that mini-you would be screaming at you right now; with a dream of playing for your country.

For me that is England. Walking out and stepping on to the hallowed turf of Wembley and imagining that I was walking in the treads of Moore, Charlton, Gascoigne and Robson. Lining up and fighting back the tears as a crescendo of noise picks up and the drum-roll begins for God Save the Queen. Of course I bellow my heart out in a mono-tone dirge.

All of those thoughts; pre-conceived notions of patriotic footballing bliss have to be discarded from your brain and for one minute just put yourself in the boots of Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand.

This week he has been given plenty of stick for his decision to withdraw from the England team for ‘pre-planned’ whatever it was and then flying halfway across the world to play pundit with Phil Neville for Al-Jazeera television.

But just think about this.

He was made of an example of for missing a drug test by The FA back in 2003. Regardless of what you think about that no evidence has ever shown this was nothing more than an honest mistake. His eight-month ban was designed as a warning to other players; a warning that has probably worked.

But he came back to play for his country.

Then, more recently, he is unceremoniously dropped from the England team; with John Terry, a man who was found guilty by The FA of racially abusing Rio’s brother Anton Ferdinand in a Premier League match back in 2011, preferred by Roy Hodgson.

Hodgson then essentially tells a group of fans on the London tube that Rio was not in his future England plans.

Then with England wounded and desperate due to injuries at centre-back and in light of John Terry’s international retirement we go calling for Rio. Come back. All is forgotten hey?

Rio says no.

Tell me you wouldn’t be tempted to do the same.

Do you think you might have said no in Ferdinand’s shoes?

image: © Paolo Camera

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