Roy Hodgson will ring Rio Ferdinand to apologise for reportedly telling passengers on a London Tube that the Manchester United defender's England career is over. Hodgson, who once again left Ferdinand out of his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland, spoke openly to members of public while he was on his way to watch Arsenal's Champions League match against Olympiakos at the Emirates on Wednesday.
When asked whether Ferdinand would return, Hodgson allegedly told passengers: "I very much doubt it. He hasn't played for England for quite a while. I have to say it is over for him and England. It has got to be the end of the road. He is pushing 34 and hasn't played for England for a long, long time."
Ferdinand's hopes of a recall were raised after John Terry announced his retirement from international football. However Hodgson chose to pick Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross ahead of the 33-year-old, who was also overlooked for Euro 2012, therefore avoiding a potential conflict with Terry. Gary Cahill, Phil Jagielka and Joleon Lescott were included for the forthcoming qualifiers as well.
"I have tried to speak to Rio and I am very disappointed that the story has come out like that and I apologise to him because there is no way I would ever indicate I wasn't going to use a player in that way," Hodgson said. "But the thing is that I didn't choose him in the squad this time and it is for the same reasons as before – we have other players but certainly I am not suggesting it is the end of the line.
"I would never dream of telling a player it's the end of the line or the end of the road or whatever I am supposed to have said. That is up to every player to decide for himself.
"Hopefully that won't be the case and when I speak to Rio I will make it clear to him that I have not selected him in the squad and who knows whether I will select him in the next squad or not. But it is up to him to decide if I ever do go to him whether he wanted to be a part of it or not.
"I didn't say it last night – it was Wednesday afternoon if we want to be 100% correct. All I remember was that I was talking to quite a lot of people on the Tube and one guy said: 'Is Rio in the next squad?' and I think I might have said: 'I don't think so.'
"I think that is about as far as I went. But I shouldn't say that, of course. It's a mistake and I need to apologise for that. This is one of the hazards I suppose of travelling on Tube trains when you go up to London, which is the best way for me to travel, and then of course speaking to people who ask me questions rather than sitting there tight-lipped refusing to open my mouth. I've paid for it.
"I shall learn in future and maybe this will be a lesson for all the people who see me on the Tube in future: please don't be too offended if I refuse to answer any questions you ask me."
Hodgson admitted he was disappointed that Terry is no longer available for selection but that he respects the Chelsea defender's decision. "It's a hypothetical question," he said. "How can you pick someone in the squad if they have retired from international football? He has retired. I don't answer hypothetical questions. Would I pick Bobby Charlton if he hadn't stopped playing for England? It's a hypothetical question. What I've said about John Terry, I stand by every word.
"The thing about John is that I have said what I wanted to say when I was obliged to make a statement when he retired from international football. It is a decision I regret because he did well for me as a national coach during my short time working with him and he has had a long career for England. But it is a decision which I respect and accept.
"As a result, it is important for me to look to the future. The games in Brazil, if we are lucky enough to get there through qualification, are in two years' time. So as far as I am concerned all I can do is thank John for the time I spent with him and the matches he played for me and to wish him well in his Chelsea career.
"I am not prepared to speculate on any further developments and furthermore I think it might be the time to close that chapter as well because we have other members of the squad who are hopefully going to help us qualify in these coming games who I'd much rather as a coach concentrate on."