• World Cup qualifiers

Hodgson aware of anti-Ferdinand feeling

ESPN staff
March 23, 2013

Roy Hodgson refused to be drawn on the England future of Rio Ferdinand following the win over San Marino, but did admit he was aware of the negative feeling from the crowd towards the Manchester United defender.

Ferdinand controversially opted to miss England's World Cup qualifier with San Marino, having been brought in from the wilderness by Hodgson.

The Manchester United man cited a need to stick to an "intricate and pre-planned" fitness regime as the reason behind his absence - only to court more controversy when it emerged he would be flying out to Doha to commentate on the England-San Marino game for Al Jazeera.

During the 8-0 romp, anti-Ferdinand chants were heard from sections of the England fans - suggesting there is ill-feeling towards the player.

Hodgson is now turning his focus to the key clash with Montenegro next week and did not want to speak about Ferdinand, but the coach did acknowledge he was aware of the feeling from the away fans.

"Of course I heard it," Hodgson said. "I'm not deaf. But I've absolutely no comment to make on it."

Looking ahead to the game in Podgorica next week, Hodgson said: "It would be a great lift to win on Tuesday, but if we don't get it I won't be getting the spade out to dig a grave for the team.

"There are 15 points to play for and the team is capable of getting a large number of those points to see us through."

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