RIO FERDINAND SET TO MISS EURO 2012
Rio Ferdinand is set to be left out of England's Euro 2012 squad when it is unveiled by new manager Roy Hodgson on Wednesday.
Hodgson is believed to have spoken to the Manchester United defender on Tuesday and told him he would not be going to Poland and Ukraine this summer.
Ferdinand has made no comment on the matter, although it is thought Hodgson's decision may have been shaped more by concerns over the 33-year-old's long-standing back problems.
Although he was speaking about the potential for Ferdinand being selected for duty at the Olympics later in the summer, on Friday Sir Alex Ferguson said it was impossible for the former West Ham man to play twice in four days.
As a similarly packed schedule would have to be navigated at the European Championships, it is thought Hodgson has concluded that he cannot take the risk of managing one of his senior players through a tournament of such significance.
The news will come as a blow to Ferdinand, who had declared his intention to make himself available this summer, despite obvious complications over his relationship with long-time central defensive colleague John Terry.
The Chelsea man will face a court case later this year after being charged with making comments of a racist nature to Ferdinand's brother Anton during the Blues Premier League encounter with QPR at Loftus Road last October. Terry denies the charges.
It is thought Terry will be part of the England squad, along with club colleague Frank Lampard.
Hodgson's firm decision about Ferdinand appears to signal the end of his 81-cap England career.
Ferdinand last featured for his country in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Switzerland in June 2011, although he was selected for the friendly against Holland the following August which was postponed due to the London riots.
And it is not the only bold decision Hodgson has taken.
During his extended period as interim manager following Fabio Capello's dismissal, Stuart Pearce claimed he had put everything into place for the new man to slot into.
Now it seems Hodgson was not that impressed.
After shoving the planned squad announcement back to Wednesday from the original unveiling date of May 10, Hodgson has now taken the even more significant decision to scrap next week's planned training camp in Spain.
Both Capello and then Pearce, who changed the destination, felt it was a good idea to take the England players away for a few days ahead of the friendly with Norway in Oslo on May 26.
Hodgson has decided his players could do with some additional rest instead, which may also have an impact on the plans to gather as a group for the first time on Monday.
England are also believed to have been dealt an injury blow with the news that Tottenham defender Kyle Walker has been ruled out with a broken toe.
Walker seemed certain to be handed a squad berth after winning the PFA Young Player of the Year award this season.
However, with Liverpool's Glen Johnson and Manchester City's Micah Richards both available, in addition to Phil Jones of Manchester United, Hodgson does have plenty of options in that area.
It remains to be seen whether Hodgson has any other surprises in store and he has previously offered few clues to his eventual selection.
On two separate occasions, most recently on Monday evening, the 64-year-old has said he needed to pay considerable attention to the players responsible for getting England to the European Championships.
Given 15 players contributed some part to at least half of England's qualifying games, a figure that includes only one keeper - the ever-present Joe Hart - but not Danny Welbeck, Andy Carroll or Jones - it would appear Hodgson's job is almost done.
The situation is not that simple though.
At either end of the experience scale, Paul Scholes and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have been talked about as possibles, whilst Hodgson also has to select a permanent captain, knowing Steven Gerrard is the obvious favourite but Scott Parker was the choice of interim boss Pearce for the February friendly defeat to Holland at Wembley.
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