Rio Ferdinand – Is he the bad guy here?

March 24, 2013 6:37 pm

Rio FerdinandSo, Rio Ferdinand opted out of playing and representing his country in the recent World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro.

A lot has been made of Ferdinand’s refusal to play, after his reinstatement to the England squad after two years in the international wilderness.

Ferdinand’s last England appearance was in the 2-2 draw against Switzerland, in June 2011, however, he won a recall because of his outstanding performance in the Manchester United squad this season.

The England center backs career appeared to be over, after he was left out of the squad for Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

After a few days of deliberation, Ferdinand turned down the opportunity of making a comeback to the international scene, on the grounds of physical necessity.

Ever since pulling out, Ferdinand has been heavily criticised by both fans and the media and made to look like the bad guy. But is this fair?

It seems this man can’t do anything right when it comes to representing England.

Critics of the Manchester United player have come out in force, and have been quick off the mark to have a go at his decision,  jumping on the “let’s have a dig at Rio” bandwagon.

The same people who have forgotten how this man was treated with complete and utter disrespect by the England manager, Roy Hodgson, along with the FA, when he was ready and willing to play for his country.

Players who were either under-performing for their clubs, or lacking international experience, were selected by Hodgson over Ferdinand. And if that was not enough embarrassment, Chelsea’s John Terry was also ahead of Ferdinand for selection.

Let’s not forget, Terry, at the time was under investigation, and facing disciplinary from the FA for racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother Anton.

Leaving a grieving Ferdinand left at home for Euro 2012, largely so Terry could go. Overall, a worthy use of emotion in my eyes.

He was overseen by Hodgson at every given opportunity, and was offered, what many would agree, was the feeblest excuse for his omission from the squad.

When asked why Rio was left out, Hodgson stated it was purely for “footballing reasons”, yeah right.

Many cynics of the game beg to differ. To this day, we all know, that someone told a little white lie and had the conspiracy theorists rubbing their hands in glee.


The papers have had a field day with Ferdinand’s withdrawal. Headlines such as “Ferdinand has humiliated Hodgson” appear on one paper. How about a headline backing his decision, saying, “What goes around comes around”.  As it has done so clearly in this case.Roy Hodgson

We are brought up and taught that if you want to be respected, you must show respect first. This wasn’t the case in Ferdinand’s blatant omission from the England squad last year.

Let’s not forget, further humiliation for Ferdinand at the hands of Hodgson, who was reported to have told the London Underground travellers that Ferdinand’s England career was over in October 2012. A comment he later denied.

Yet, despite creating ill-feeling between himself and Ferdinand in the aftermath of the Euro 2012 squad selection, Hodgson, with his tail between his legs, asked Ferdinand to answer the SOS put out by England for the recent games.


Ferdinand was told of his omission over the telephone, but at least the 34-year-old had the decency to explain his decision to withdraw in a face-to-face meeting with Hodgson.

Throughout this farcical saga, Ferdinand remained upbeat and respectful towards all parties concerned. It’s a shame the England manager, and the FA could not do the same towards a man who has been a loyal servant to England.

Decision made 

Rio has defended his decision not to play, as did Hodgson when he left Ferdinand out. Many believed the England manager then and took it at face value, so why can’t we do the same with Rio’s decision?

Rio Ferdinand is not the bad guy here, and it is extremely unfair to make him out to be just that. He had his own good reasons for not wanting to be involved, so let’s respect that decision.

If he said no to Roy Hodgson and England as a result of his appalling treatment at the hands of those in charge, who would  blame him?  If we are honest with ourselves, we would have done the same.

All those who have criticised him unfairly have done so through clouded spectacles and without good reason. If I was Ferdinand, I know what I would be thinking right now… get over it and move on.


  • Interesting and well written article.

  • steve

    I’m glad to read ana rticle that actually stands up for Rio, in my opinion he has done nothing wrong, simply given back what he got….. good read

  • Ali shah

    A very interesting article bad it is refreshing to read an article that actually stands up for Rio. I would have Done exactly the same well done Rio it is good to see someone standing up to hodgson and the fa who are a joke. Rio you should be proud off yourself

  • Paul Thompson

    Very poorly written, it takes two paragraphs for the first point to be made. Try reading the times or guardian sports sections for help in how to write an article.

    • steve

      Paul, are you talking out your backside, because it smells like you know what!!…I’m guessing your a world renowned journalist who knows how to write articles?

      • Zaf

        Appreciate you backing the article, Steve, but Paul is entitled to his opinion I respect that. I’m not a professional journalist, practice and working at getting there.

  • Brian S

    Centre not centre #numpty

  • Simon

    I think these episodes are generally just publicity stunts to create articles in newspapers so they sell, and it works a charm. Is Rio worthy of his place, yeah more than likely, should he be considered for the World Cup, probably not, I don’t understand Hodgson and some of his decisions. He selects people like lescott, who doesn’t even play for his club, gone are the days international players are selected for their form rather than which club they play for. Look at Stephen Taylor, who I’m not the biggest fan of, been in really good form for his club, but has only been selected due to injuries, people like smalling and lescott selected ahead of him cos they play for bigger clubs. Anyway getting back to the other point about Rio, yeah he should have been selected based on form, but at the same time, will he still be able to cut it in the World Cup…..

  • Thanks for that insight Zaf! Interesting viewpoint

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