England implodes, continued.

Winter:

Roy Hodgson is a good man and a good manager but his claim that “footballing reasons” lay behind Rio Ferdinand’s original omission from England’s Euro 2012 23 was a total nonsense then and an utter insult now… What a frustration for him. What an own-goal by Hodgson. The experience gained in 81 appearances tossed away like confetti. What a waste.

Daniel Taylor strikes a calmer but equally condemnatory tone:

Ferdinand is not demonstrating rampant big-headedness to believe he should be in the team, never mind just the squad. At 33, his fitness has been an issue for three seasons but he has not missed a game through injury since January, and Hodgson emphasised when he announced his squad that Ferdinand was being left out for football reasons rather than concerns about whether his body could hold up to tournament football. What he has never done is explain what those football reasons are.

Given the amount of stick the British footballing media gets for allegedly ‘talking the team down’, I’m hugely surprised by this, if also impressed. It would be easy to do your bit via your column to lower the tension and keep sentiments high, but I don’t think the role of journalist is best served as chief cheerleader. So kudos to both for writing what they clearly and rightly believe to be true and fair. The test will be what Hodgson’s next press conference is like. Do they ask him straight whether Terry is the real reason for Rio’s omission? They should. If they don’t, they become party to the propaganda and deceit machine. And it may only be football, not a vast humanitarian injustice we’re dealing with here. But sport has its own internal standards of decency too, and each must do their bit to uphold it. Especially when those with the power don’t.

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