The decision made by new England boss Roy Hodgson to leave Rio Ferdinand out of his squad for Euro 2012 quite probably brings the curtain down on the international career of one of the most skilful defenders the country has ever produced. It also ended the main focus of speculation as to who Hodgson would be bringing with him to the championships – former captain John Terry (who was this year embroiled in a racism row with Ferdinand’s brother Anton), Rio, both or neither. In the end he took Terry who is, by no means, guaranteed a start in Poland.
In truth both men are no longer anywhere near the peak of their powers. Terry, though still a fearsome competitor, has been embarrassed more than once this season, whereas Ferdinand, once the elegant, ball-playing defender who led Manchester United’s dominance of the Premier League between 2007 and 2009, has struggled with both form and fitness.
Yet, though it might be unlikely we will ever see Ferdinand in an England shirt again, it is not quite the time to write him completely out of the game. At 33 he still has plenty to offer at club level and a peak in form towards the end of the season proved he still has more than a shout at first team football at Old Trafford. However, with Vidic, Jones and Evans also competing for a spot in the centre of defence it is less clear than ever where Rio will fit into the mix next season. Not to mention the fact that, having suffered a rare trophyless year, Ferguson is likely to take to the transfer market in the summer months and he may well have a defender near the top of his shopping list.
In a career which has had many controversial lows and glorious highs, this unsatisfying end to the season followed by his absence from the international squad, can only be considered a low point for Ferdinand. Yet those who have tracked his career should know it foolish not to expect another upward turn sometime soon.