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Hodgson apologizes for dismissing Ferdinand during tube chat

updated 11:44 AM EDT, Thu October 4, 2012
Roy Hodgson has been forced to apologize after divulging details about his England squad on the London underground
Roy Hodgson has been forced to apologize after divulging details about his England squad on the London underground
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • England manager apologizes after talking about Rio Ferdinand to tube passengers
  • Hodgson reported to have said it is "end of the line" for defender's international career
  • Then 65-year-old denies allegations reported in Daily Mirror newspaper
  • Ferdinand was left out of England's Euro 2012 squad but John Terry was selected

(CNN) -- It is a sign of how modern day soccer has changed that a seemingly innocent chat between the England manager and supporters on a London tube train became front page news in less than 12 hours.

Now Roy Hodgson has been forced to apologize to Rio Ferdinand after an English newspaper reported he had told fellow commuters the Manchester United defender's international career was over.

Ferdinand -- a mainstay for Alex Ferguson's side last season -- was controversially left out of England's squad for Euro 2012 despite expressing his desire to add to his 81 international caps.

Hodgson is said to have told fans that Ferdinand had reached "the end of the road" as far as his England career was concerned.

The very fact Hodgson chose to hop on the underground to get to Arsenal's game with Olympiakos in the European Champions League on Wednesday was a flashback to the olden days when players, managers and fans used to mix on public transport.

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But the England boss might be forgiven for jumping back in his chaffeur driven car after the revelations prompted a Football Association statement and forced him onto the back foot.

"Of course I didn't say that Rio's career was over," he told reporters at a news conference on Thursday.

"What I remember saying is talking to quite a lot of people on the tube, and one guy said, 'Is Rio in the next squad?', and I think I might have said 'I don't think so'. But I think that's about as far as I went.

"But I shouldn't say that of course. That's a mistake and I need to apologize for that.

"But this is one of the hazards I suppose of traveling on tube trains which is the best way for me to come into London -- and then speaking to people on the tube train who ask me questions rather than sitting there tight-lipped refusing to ever open my mouth.

"I've paid for it. I shall learn in future, and maybe this will be a lesson for all those people who see me on the tube. Please don't be too offended if I refuse to answer any questions you ask me."

It is no surprise Hodgson elected to take the Jubilee Line to north London, given his family's connection with London's public transport system.

The 65-year-old's father was a bus driver in the English capital and the family lived in a house owned by London Transport.

Hodgson only took over as England manager in May but has already had plenty of controversial decisions to make in his fledgling reign to date.

He left Ferdinand out of his Euro 2012 squad but opted to take Chelsea captain John Terry, though the defender was due in court to face allegations he racially abused Rio's brother, Anton Ferdinand.

Maybe this will be a lesson for all those people who see me on the tube. Please don't be too offended if I refuse to answer any questions you ask me
Roy Hodgson, England manager

Hodgson insisted it was purely a football decision and Terry was cleared in July. But he was banned for four matches on the same charge by the FA and announced his retirement from international football.

Despite Terry's announcement, Hodgson has elected to persist with a policy of promoting young players and has again snubbed Ferdinand for the World Cup qualifiers with San Marino and Poland.

"I would never dream of telling a player that it's the end of the line or end of the road, or whatever I'm supposed to have said," Hodgson added.

"But the thing is that I didn't choose him in the squad this time and it's really just for the same reasons as before. We have other players, but I'm certainly not suggesting that it's the end of the line for him.

"I will leave it up to him to decide, so that if I ever do go to him, it will be up to Rio to decide whether he wants to be a part of it or not.

"But the bottom line is I am sticking to my guns. I am staying with the players I selected for the Euros and I am looking to the future. It has to be some sort of rejuvenation process with the England team."

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