No divisions over Rio - Downing

07 June 2012 06:47

Stewart Downing insists the backlash against Rio Ferdinand's snub had not hurt the England's European Championship build-up as Laurent Blanc waded into the controversy.

Ferdinand's brother, Anton, also broke his silence on the matter before Blanc became the latest leading figure in the game to suggest the Manchester United defender was not left at home for "football reasons" ahead of Les Bleus' clash with England on Monday. But Liverpool winger Downing claimed it was not a topic of conversation at the team's Krakow base.

"Certainly not," he said. "Whoever the manager picks, we just get on with it. I just concentrate on my own game and why I am here. It has obviously been built up but players just get on with it."

Insisting the saga had not had a negative impact upon Roy Hodgson's squad, he added: "The manager has just told us to concentrate on playing in the games and the players who are here."

Hodgson has denied Ferdinand's exclusion had anything to do with the possibility of disharmony between the United centre-back and John Terry.

Terry faces a court case on July 9 after being charged with racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during a match between Chelsea and QPR last October. Chelsea captain Terry denies the charge.

Several high-profile former players have contended this was precisely why Ferdinand was ignored, and France boss Blanc joined them. He said: "I know Rio Ferdinand. I think, from afar, that the choice to not take him isn't a sporting choice. Rio Ferdinand is a very good player but (his exclusion) has been surprising with all the injuries in that department."

Anton Ferdinand earlier refused to join the condemnation of his brother's omission. Rio Ferdinand's adviser, Jamie Moralee, this week branded the decision to call up Martin Kelly as a replacement for the injured Gary Cahill on Sunday "disrespectful", and the player was equally unhappy.

However, the United man vowed to support England in the tournament and his brother has backed up those sentiments.

"Things happen in football," he told Daybreak. "It's a game of ups and downs. I am sure he'd like to be there but sadly it didn't happen this time. But we move on and, like he said, he's going to follow them from somewhere else and, as a family and as a community, we're going to do that."

Source: PA