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Terry picked 'for footballing reasons'
Roy Hodgson focused on footballing matters as he explained the selection of John Terry and the omission of Rio Ferdinand in his England squad for this summer's European Championship.
Terry was selected despite the July court case awaiting him regarding allegations that he racially abused QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, which Terry denies. Ferdinand's elder brother Rio being left out of the squad will help to avoid any tension that could have stemmed from the pair sharing a dressing room in Poland and Ukraine.
Hodgson said: "If we take the court case first of all, that's obviously very unfortunate for him but we must emphasise he is an innocent man until such time as he is proven guilty. My decision with John Terry was based purely on footballing matters, I was given a free hand as to the squad I picked."
The impending court case also saw Terry stripped of the captaincy by the Football Association, a decision which saw Fabio Capello resign his post and Hodgson eventually succeed him. Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard will captain England this summer.
Hodgson was keen to spell out that Ferdinand had been omitted not because of the race row or because he could not cope with the rigours of tournament football - as his club manager Sir Alex Ferguson had claimed - but simply because he thinks the player is no longer good enough.
"I selected John Terry for footballing reasons and left out Rio Ferdinand for footballing reasons," Hodgson added. "I had to decide on the basis of what I have seen over the last few months. Rio has only played once for England in the last year and three times since 2010.
"Rio has done exceptionally well this year, has played lots of games through injury and has sometimes played three times in a week. I would be lying if I said that was the major reason for not selecting him, it was purely on other footballing decisions."
Ferdinand later hinted that Hodgson's decision to omit him marked the end of his international career. "Absolutely loved playing for england..." Ferdinand wrote on his Twitter account. "to say I'm gutted is an understatement of the highest order..."
Ex-England international Sol Campbell said he was baffled as to why his former defensive partner had been omitted by Hodgson.
"You can't say on football reasons Rio Ferdinand shouldn't be going. He's experienced, he knows how to play football, he's an excellent defender, he's done fantastic for his club and country, especially in the last three months," Campbell, who took part in six major tournaments for England, told CNN.