• Hodgson said clubs treated international breaks as a holiday
• Ferguson: International football interferes with clubs' ambitions
Sir Alex Ferguson has led a managerial backlash to Roy Hodgson's claim that Premier League clubs and players treat international breaks as holidays by saying that friendly games interfere with managers' plans.
As Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, and QPR's Harry Redknapp also voiced their disagreement with Hodgson, Ferguson said: "Look at the opposite side. International football interferes with the clubs' ambitions – friendly games for a start. They have been doing it for the last decade, playing a friendly in the week before the season starts. Tell me the sense of that. It doesn't matter what way you look at it.
"Club managers are always in disagreement with international football, particularly in friendly situations. I have no issues at all about the competitive part. The players should always be available for the European Championship and the World Cup."
Although he did not mention Rio Ferdinand, Hodgson's comments came after the United defender did not answer a call-up for England's recent World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Montenegro by citing a detailed fitness programme that involved flying to Qatar.
Asked how Hodgson or any other international manager could evolve his side without the use of friendlies to test players and formations, Ferguson said: "That's a fair point. I'm not disagreeing with it, but it doesn't suit club managers, no matter how you look at the importance of a friendly game."
Redknapp, who was beaten to the England job by Hodgson, said: "I don't know what Roy is saying there. International friendlies are quite often meaningless games. Roy's been a club manager and I'm sure when there was a break he was only too pleased to have a day or two's rest to give the players a rest or take them away to train."
Mancini's team fly to America at the end of May for two post-season games against Chelsea, in St Louis and New York, before their England contingent return the next day to join up for the friendlies with the Republic of Ireland at Wembley and Brazil in Rio.
"Usually I don't like this because when you finish the season, it is finished," said Mancini. "But for me going to New York is like going on holiday. It is true. We go to play two games because it is important for the club but I don't like to go after the championship because players need a rest."
Can he understand Hodgson being unhappy? "Yes, but the club decide this. We accept this," Mancini said before stating that any of City's internationals could return early if required. "If he needs a player we don't have a problem. But my opinion is I don't like to go on tour after the championship usually. It is incredible, these players don't have the time to recover very well. When we finish the championship, we go one week in New York and after they come back some players play in the Confederations Cup and qualification for World Cup."
Ferguson voiced surprise at the tour. "I wouldn't ever do it, I must admit. I was surprised to see they were playing two games at the end of May. But that can only be because of whatever financial gains they're getting out of it, obviously. They're the two richest clubs too. They need the money," the Scot joked.
Ferguson also dismissed Mancini's claim last week that some sides play with "fear" against United. "That's absolute nonsense," he said. "The English game is the most honest in the world. So it's absolute nonsense what he said. He was maybe looking for a bit of self-sympathy or something like that."
Ferguson suggested that the development of Wilfried Zaha, who joins from Crystal Palace at the end of the season, and Phil Jones may not be best served if they play for the England Under-21 team in the summer's European Championship. "I always think, with young players, the best chance for them to develop physically is in the summer, when the sun comes out. It's an actual fact that the growth spurts of young people are always in the summer, the main spurt.
"There's a great example of Michael Owen, who I always thought, if he'd got the proper development, would have been an absolute world-class player, but he had a youth tournament in 1997 in Malaysia for a month. World Under-18 tournament I think it was. We had two players playing in it and gave them a month off when they came back. Michael came back and was in the Liverpool team the next week, then played in the World Cup the following summer."
Ferguson said he has not discussed with Paul Scholes if he will play for another year. "I've not spoken to Paul about that but I'm hopeful he will be back fit and available for us in the last three or four games of the season," he said.
Ferguson will be without Nemanja Vidic, Chris Smalling and Ashley Young for Sunday's trip to Stoke City, with Jonny Evans also a doubt.