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Mar 23, 2013

Ferdinand criticises England, Hodgson

Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand's England future has darkened after he publicly criticised the current England squad and its style of play under manager Roy Hodgson.

Ferdinand, commentating from Doha on the Three Lions 8-0 mauling of San Marino in their World Cup qualifying match, said England's players "were not good enough" and recalled the regimes of Glenn Hoddle and Terry Venables as the most "enjoyable" time he has spent in an England shirt.

Ferdinand missed the match after pulling out of the England squad due to a "pre-planned training and medical programme".

"We need to have a real good look at ourselves. Whether it's a mental thing or that we're just not good enough, that's what we are still trying to search for," Ferdinand was reported as saying by The Sun.

"My most enjoyable time probably in an England shirt was under Glenn Hoddle. That, and under Terry Venables, was probably the most expansive and fluid football that we'd played in the last 15-20 years."

However, Ferdinand's latest comments will only add fuel to the anti-Ferdinand sentiment felt by the English faithful after the 34-year-old was the subject of abuse by the travelling fans inside the Olimpico di Serravalle.

Once an England hero, Ferdinand's name was raked through the mud by the English supporters, with even the England coaching staff picking out the vitriol amongst the calls and screams from the sidelines.

"Of course I heard it," Hodgson said. "I'm not deaf. But I've absolutely no comment to make on it."

The Ferdinand saga attracted attention away for England's clinical demolition of the European minnows, a victory that adds extra emphasis to the top-of-the-table clash with Group H leaders Montenegro on Tuesday.

But despite the chance to move into the automatic qualifying spot, Hodgson attempted to downplay the significance a defeat against Montenegro would have on himself and his squad.

"It would be a great lift to win on Tuesday, but if we don't get it I won't be getting the spade out to dig a grave for the team," said Hodgson.

"There are 15 points to play for and the team is capable of getting a large number of those points to see us through.

"Beating Brazil gave us confidence and most people will look at the football we played tonight and revel in the fact there were exceptional moves and goals in there."

However, Hodgson is already on the back foot heading into Tuesday's match with defender Gary Cahill joining Arsenal's Theo Walcott on the injury table.

"We did have some forlorn hope that Gary Cahill might recover," said Hodgson.

"But I was warned it was extremely unlikely, and he's not trained yet so there's no chance of him joining us.

"And right at the start of training yesterday, Theo Walcott was crossing a ball. The pitch was slippy, he followed up the cross and immediately felt a twinge in his pelvic area.

"We took him for a scan today and there's a slight tear in a very unusual area.

"He's going back home, but hopefully he won't be out for too long."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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