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Oct, 4, 2012

Rio Ferdinand left out

Roy Hodgson on Thursday named Ryan Shawcross, Kieran Gibbs and Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster to his England squad for the UEFA World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland Oct. 12 and 16.

After John Terry retired from international football last month, the selection of a fourth central defender was pending.

Hodgson opted against recalling 33-year-old Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, who has not played for England since 2011. The England team coach said Thursday he apologized to Ferdinand for the way he dealt with the omission.

Ferdinand learned he was not going to be selected this morning after Hodgson made comments to a fellow passenger on the Tube heading to Arsenal's Champions League encounter with Olympiacos at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday.

"All I remember was that I was talking to quite a lot of people on the Tube and one guy said 'is Rio in the next squad?'," Hodgson said. "I think I might have said 'I don't think so' and that is about as far as I went. But I shouldn't say that of course. It's a mistake and I need to apologise for it.

"I have tried to get in touch with Rio today," he said. "I am disappointed that a stray conversation has been reported in that way. It is not for me to call time on anyone's career. I would never dream of calling time on anyone's career."

Hodgson said he has no worries about the fitness of striker Andy Carroll, despite Sam Allardyce's warning that his West Ham forward is still recovering from a hamstring injury.

"Andy played 23 minutes including injury-time on Monday and I am expecting him to play more minutes on Saturday against Arsenal, either from the start or coming on," said Hodgson.

"He has another week after that so I don't think there is any reason for me to question his fitness."

Tottenham's Steven Caulker had been discussed as a candidate, but he was named in Stuart Pearce's Under-21 squad Wednesday, so Stoke's Shawcross has been picked for only the second time, having failed to win a cap when he was chosen for the friendly against Egypt by Fabio Capello in March 2010.

Arsenal's Gibbs, who has two caps from friendly encounters against Hungary and France, replaced Ryan Bertrand in the squad.

Like Caulker, Jack Butland has been released to the Under-21s for their European Championship playoff with Serbia, leading to Celtic's Forster becoming a rare England selection from the Scottish Premier League.

In addition, Tottenham's Aaron Lennon was called up, despite having not played for England since the 2010 World Cup.

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