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Eriksson slams Roy Hodgson ‘smear campaign’

June 6, 2012
LONDON: Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson believes coach Roy Hodgson is the victim of a smear campaign for leaving Rio Ferdinand out of Euro 2012.
Ferdinand was not in the original squad and when Gary Cahill was injured, 22-year-old Martin Kelly was called up.
“Choosing Kelly seems to have caught him in the crossfire,” Eriksson said. “Having selected six Liverpool players, Roy is the target of a smear campaign.
“I know Roy will face it without losing his composure.” accxording to a BBC report.
Hodgson, who has presided over two friendly victories since taking over as England coach last month, insisted that Ferdinand’s omission was for footballing reasons.

However many believe it was to avoid potential conflict with John Terry, who is to stand trial in July over a charge he racially abused Ferdinand’s brother Anton, which the Chelsea captain denies.

“First of all, they’re all good footballers. But secondly, Roy has rock-solid knowledge when it comes to the players’ current form,” said Eriksson, who was in charge of the England team from 2001-2006.

“Personally, I just find the whole thing to be quite silly.”

Many expressed surprise that Kelly, who has played in only one non-competitive match for England, was preferred to Ferdinand, who has won 81 caps and proved his fitness this season by starting 36 matches for Manchester United.

Tottenham playmaker Rafael van der Vaart was surprised by the absence of Ferdinand and described him as ‘still one of the best defenders in England and maybe in the world,’ but former Spurs boss David Pleat and ex-England internationals John Barnes and Danny Mills have also been among those to back Hodgson’s decision.

“I do understand Rio’s disappointment,” Eriksson said. “He was an incredibly important player for me in three tournaments, but we mustn’t forget the injuries he has suffered this season.

“Roy has his reasons, otherwise he would not have rejected Rio – twice.

“It has been an entirely football-based decision. That’s all there is to it. Remember, this is England. No squad is ever selected without criticism.”

-Agencies

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