In February 2013, Rio Ferdinand stated that “I love playing for England. If I got picked I would pack my bags and go straight there.” In March, Roy Hodgson selected Ferdinand for the England squad and Ferdinand promptly pulls out citing fitness concerns. Yesterday he decided to retire from International duty altogether and concentrate on club football.
There has been much made over the last couple of years over Ferdinand being left off of the England Roster and of course the racism row between his brother Anton and John Terry. No one can blame Rio Ferdinand for having issues with Terry. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to realize that Ferdinand was left off the roster with Terry still on it or striking out at Ashley Cole for defending Terry. We also know that the FA did its usual “something close to nothing” about the whole ordeal which again set Ferdinand off.
Pulling out of the World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro and then going off to report on the games will leave a bad taste in a lot of England supporter’s mouths. No amount of trying to explain it away will change anyone’s minds that this was nothing more than a slap at the FA and Hodgson. Alright, I get it and I understand why he did it and a part of me doesn't blame him. He could have also taken the high road and retired back in March instead of pulling out as he did with the lame excuse.
England will miss Ferdinand’s ability, his leadership and his steadfastness on the back line. Ferdinand is a great competitor and you can tell he loves being on the pitch. For his sake and it is a sincere hope that he will be remembered for being a great England player and Captain, not for him taking a final swipe at the England team on his last chance to play for them.