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  • Mitre June 17

England skipper, Steven Gerrard misses point when he supports England fans over Ferdinand

Football News 24/7
Rio Ferdinand has not done himself any favours over his decision to pass over on his England recall, but the level of vebal abuse pointed towards him by England fans - some of it verging on the illegal cannot be excused. Foul and abusive chanting, is never to be condoned whatever the provocation.

For those reasons alone, England skipper Steven Gerrard was ill advised to suggest England fans were perfectly entitled to vent their anger at Ferdinand on Tuesday against Montenegro.

Ferdinand opted to pull out of the squads for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Montenegro in order to safeguard his fitness for Manchester United and his decision to fly to Qatar to work as a TV pundit instead did not go down well with England followers.

They sang anti-Ferdinand songs during Friday's 8-0 win in San Marino and Gerrard had a certain amount of sympathy for them.

"We all wanted Rio here because he's a good player and he certainly would have helped us over these two games. But he's made his decision and we need to respect that."

England manager Roy Hodgson has been guarded about whether Ferdinand, 34, will add to his 81 caps but suggested he was tired of talking about the experienced centre back, who he left out of Euro 2012 amid tensions with the now retired John Terry.

"I think it's wrong to consistently ask for people to come back," he said ahead of Tuesday's crucial clash away to the Group H leaders, who are two points above England.

"Where do we stop? Do we ask for Michael Owen to come out of retirement every time we can't score a goal?"

With Ferdinand preferring not to play and several other players injured, Hodgson may field the relatively untested partnership of Joleon Lescott and Chris Smalling in Podgorica.

"I'm not exactly putting a couple of guys from non-league football out on the pitch on Tuesday night and I think we should show them a bit more respect - and not constantly compare them maybe," he said.

In what could be viewed as a dig at Ferdinand, he added: "The one thing the England fans can be really certain of is that if we fail it won't be because they are players who don't take it seriously or they are players who are more interested in themselves or their clubs."

But the shoe could easily be on the other foot on Tuesday with England players sure to come in for all levels of abuse in Montenegro. The home fans have already been in trouble with FIFA. and it will be a hostile venue for sure.



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