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Contrary to reports in the media over the weekend that Rio Ferdinand was going to be included in the England Euro 2012 squad at the expense of John Terry it now appears that the reverse is going to be the case. Terry is currently awaiting trial for racially abusing Ferdinand’s brother Anton and the prospect of them both being in the England squad for the Euros seemed an unhealthy one.New England manager Roy Hodgson had said upon taking the job that the Ferdinand and Terry ‘situation’ needed a proper resolution and now he has provided one.

It is likely that officially concerns over Ferdinand’s fitness may be cited as a reason for his exclusion especially in light of comments by his club manager last week (Rio can’t play every 4 days) but this would ring hollow to me. Ferdinand has just played 12 games back to back for Man United and overall this season he has 30 EPL appearances to Terry’s 31. After what Hodgson said at the outset I do not buy into any theory that Ferdinand was offered but declined a place in the squad because of the presence of Terry. Essentially Hodgson has decided, quite rightly, that Ferdinand and Terry in the same squad is a toxic mix but I can’t help feeling that he has dumped the wrong guy.

In playing terms there is no comparison. Ferdinand has always been a class ahead of Terry and this is especially true for international football. His poise, composure on the ball and recovery speed are all better suited to the international arena than Terry’s rather more agricultural style of play. Both players are significantly past their peaks but Ferdinand is still a better bet so why would Hodgson opt for Terry ahead of him?

Now this is where it gets tricky. If Terry had been axed from the squad then there is little doubt that it would have been viewed in the light of the racist allegations against him. Accusations that the FA were condemning an ‘innocent’ man would have immediately been touted by his supporters, this already had happened to an extent when he was stripped of the captaincy. To avoid these claims Ferdinand has lost out instead and just like the last World Cup where Wayne Bridge suffered the innocent bystander to Terry’s misdemeanours gets shot while he marches bravely on.

The moving of Terry’s trial to a date post Euro 2012 has proved a disaster for the FA. If his guilt or innocence had been established a few months ago then it may well be the case that they would not have needed to appoint a new manager and the team would still be able to call upon its best and most experienced central defender, i.e. Rio Ferdinand. Incidentally if I were a prosecuting lawyer at the that trial trying to establish Terry’s character I would use the footage of him flat out denying that he kneed Alexis Sanchez in the back until the TV evidence made it clear even to him that he could not perpetuate that lie.

Let us get this clear, John Terry is not innocent. He is guilty of the very considerable crime of being John Terry. He carries so much baggage around with him that he will need his own plane to fly out to England’s Euro 2012 training camp in Krakow. He is such a disruptive and noxious influence that the FA and Hodgson would have every right to exclude him on that basis alone and I am surprised and disappointed that they haven’t. He is an inferior player to Ferdinand and whilst he may be marginally better than some of the other central defensive candidates his unholy presence negates this totally. In words that JT himself has probably heard in the midst of a pub brawl, ‘leave im Roy, he just ain’t worth it.’

by Nilesh Bhagat

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