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Mar 15, 2013

Rio and Cole urged to mend relationship

Roy Hodgson has called on Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole to end their ongoing feud while they are together with the England national team.

• Payne: Rio managing differences

Ferdinand, who was recalled for England ahead of the World Cup qualifiers in San Marino and Montenegro, fell out with Cole following the John Terry race row, which involved Rio's brother Anton.

The Manchester United defender was fined £45,000 by the FA for re-tweeting a comment describing Cole as a "choc-ice" after the Chelsea man defended club team-mate Terry during a trial at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

Hodgson, though, is hopeful that any ill-will between the pair can be laid to rest when the squad comes together next Monday.

"Let's hope (there are no issues) I will cross that bridge when I come to it," he said. "I think the spirit in the group is good. I am happy with it. I am happy with it. They do seem to care about each other.

"I would be unhappy I suppose if there were tensions between players in a group. But on the other hand, this is an England team and these players are fierce rivals sometimes on the field of play and they have special agendas for their club teams.

"There is always, when you bring a national team together, the job of making sure the group is comfortable and people are comfortable with each other. But we are talking about two very experienced professional players here and we are talking about the England football team. I don't envisage any problems."

Hodgson admits he is concerned Ferdinand may have a "grievance" against him over his lengthy exile from the England team.

"I suppose it is a concern, yes," Hodgson confirmed. "But I can't do more than I am now, giving him the chance to come back, asking him to come back, making it clear I would like to use him.

"I can't do more than that. If he has a grievance and does hold it against me, that I haven't selected him previously, then there is not much I can do about that.

"At the moment I have selected him because I think he is the right man to do the job. That's the bottom line. I'm hoping he will be pleased.

"I am hoping he plays so well that he plays every single game England play from now to eternity - but I don't have a crystal ball.

Ferdinand won the last of his 81 caps to date against Switzerland at Wembley in June 2011 in a Euro 2012 qualifier.

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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