'He is innocent until proven guilty' - Hodgson justifies picking John Terry for Euro 2012

The newly-appointed boss has moved quickly to defend the former captain's inclusion, as well as Rio Ferdinand's omission, following the announcement on Wednesday

England manager Roy Hodgson has attempted to justify the inclusion John Terry in his squad announcement for Euro 2012, claiming the centre-half is “an innocent man until proven guilty” in light of his impending court case.

The newly-appointed manager revealed at his unveiling at the beginning of May that he would speak to Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand and Terry over their working relationship in light of the Chelsea captain being accused by the former’s younger brother, Anton Ferdinand, of directing racist abuse at him.

Hodgson told reporters: "If you take the court case, he is an innocent man until proven guilty. The Terry decision was based on football matters. When I selected him I knew people would raise their eyebrows, but I believe he has played well in the latter half of the season.

"I know you'll come back at me and tell me what he did in Barcelona was wrong but he played an important part in Chelsea's FA Cup final win and them reaching the Champions League final. I'm also looking back at a longer period than just a few weeks."

However, Hodgson has maintained that his decision was based solely for football reasons, with Rio Ferdinand struggling for form throughout the season and being unable to play two matches within a week as United battled on domestic and European fronts.

He continued: "I had to make my decision based on what I've seen on recent months. He's played only once for England in the last year. I wanted Phil Jones to balance out because of the absence of Kyle Walker at right-back. It's based purely on football and nothing else."

"It was a hard phone call to make. It was based purely on football & nothing else. He is a man I respect. I had to make a football decision on the basis of what I have seen in recent months"
The squad will now meet up on May 23 ahead of Hodgson's first game in charge, a friendly against Norway in Oslo on the May 26, before travelling back home for the encounter against Belgium on June 2, before heading off to their base camp for Euro 2012 in Poland.