Roy Hodgson silent on Rio Ferdinand abuse

23 March 2013 09:45

Roy Hodgson has no intention of 'digging a grave' for his team if England fail their World Cup test in Montenegro on Tuesday - but that is exactly what their supporters appear to have done to Rio Ferdinand's international career.

As their side sauntered to an 8-0 win over San Marino on Friday night, the travelling Three Lions left Ferdinand in no doubt about the depth to which his name has plummeted in the wake of his decision to commentate on the game in Doha rather than actually play in it.

"Of course I heard it," said Hodgson. "I'm not deaf. But I've absolutely no comment to make on it."

Hodgson has emerged as the moral victor over the issue of Ferdinand's fitness.

And he also watched those players who were here produce a dazzling display, which was far too good for their woefully weak hosts. Jermain Defoe was the only man to score more than once, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ashley Young, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Daniel Sturridge adding to his brace and an early Alessandro Della Valle own goal.

It meant the only thing that went wrong all evening was the late Montenegro goal in Moldova that ensures England will head to Podgorica still trailing the Group H leaders by two points ahead of Tuesday's crucial World Cup qualifier.

"It would be a great lift to win on Tuesday, but if we don't get it I won't be getting the spade out to dig a grave for the team," said Hodgson. "There are 15 points to play for and the team is capable of getting a large number of those points to see us through.

"Beating Brazil gave us confidence and most people will look at the football we played tonight and revel in the fact there were exceptional moves and goals in there."

England will try to achieve a positive result without Gary Cahill, who has been ruled out with a knee injury, and Theo Walcott, who will return home after suffering a groin strain in training.

"We did have some forlorn hope that Gary Cahill might recover," said Hodgson. "But I was warned it was extremely unlikely, and he's not trained yet so there's no chance of him joining us."

Source: PA