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The 64-year-old is disappointed that the debate has been sparked just before they face France at Euro 2012, stating the defender's name was barely mentioned in selection talks

Roy Hodgson has insisted that Rio Ferdinand should not be worried about his England future, despite deciding against handing him at Euro 2012 call-up.

The Manchester United man was left out of the 64-year-old's initial Euro 2012 squad for “footballing reasons”, though many believe it is to do with the alleged racial abuse directed towards his brother Anton by John Terry.

Recent reports have suggested that the defender is now ready to retire from international football after believing that he is no longer wanted, however Hodgson made it clear he may still have a future with The Three Lions as long as he is in charge.

"Ferdinand has no reason to fear for his international future. All the time he keeps playing, I'll keep watching him,” Hodgson told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Following the injury to Gary Cahill and Martin Kelly's resulting call-up, further questions have been raised as to why the 33-year-old is not involved.

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And the England manager admitted he was both surprised and disappointed that the issue has been brought up again so close to the Three Lions’ opening game against France.

"I was somewhat surprised when the debate arose again," he told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"The only disappointing factor for us who are working here is that it has taken the focus away from the fact that we are playing a very big match on Monday against France.

"There was obviously no question with the players that we had and the cover that we already had for centre-backs in the squad, when Gary Cahill got injured, to be frank there was never any thought in my mind that I would call up Rio Ferdinand as a cover player.

"I don't think Rio Ferdinand is a player you select to cover the players you've chosen. I think when you choose Ferdinand with his 81 caps and his experience you choose him to put him in the team.”

Hodgson also defended the inclusion of youngster Martin Kelly in the squad, who has played just three minutes of international football, while reiterating that Ferdinand was never part of his plans for the tournament.

"My thoughts immediately turned to what young players we could bring along that would benefit from the experience. We turned to Martin Kelly, who had been with us before on the Norway trip,” he continued.

"Rio's name never really featured in the discussions."


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