John Barnes: Fantastic Rio Ferdinand still good enough to earn England return

The 48-year-old former midfielder has backed the claims of the former skipper to win a recall to Roy Hodgson's squad in the future, after John Terry's international retirement
By James McManus

Former England international and Liverpool legend John Barnes believes Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand is more than up to the challenge of winning a place back in the Three Lions squad.

National team boss Roy Hodgson excluded Ferdinand from his Euro 2012 squad for 'footballing reasons', however the court case involving his brother Anton and Chelsea skipper John Terry was believed to have played a large part in the decision.

With Terry having retired from international football, Barnes, who is now an analyst for ESPN, strongly feels that a player of Ferdinand's quality simply cannot be ignored any longer.
9/1 Rio Ferdinand is 9/1 to score anytime against Tottenham with bet365

"I think that he's good enough to be in the squad still because in my opinion Rio Ferdinand is still the best centre-half in England," Barnes told

The 33-year-old's injury record has proven a problem in the past, though, with a series of thigh and back issues proving hard to fully shake, but Barnes believes that if Ferdinand is not recalled to the squad off the back of Terry's retirement, then it might be down to the player's differences with Hodgson as much as anything else.

He added: "These days it's about much more than just your ability, it's to do with the harmony of the side and the psychological aspect of it all, between players and managers.

"What sort of relationship is he going to have with the manager if he does come back in? So it's not as black and white as saying 'so he should be in'.

"Rio is fantastic and on ability he is in but when it comes to the other intangibles if you like, then he has got a decision to make."

The centre-back has already represented his country on 81 occasions since making his debut for the side in a friendly against Cameroon back in 1997 while he was still at West Ham.

John Barnes is working as an analyst for ESPN, who are screening live Premier League games this season - including Manchester United v Tottenham on Saturday.

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