Veteran defender Rio Ferdinand was the highest-profile casualty as England manager Roy Hodgson unveiled his squad for the European Championships.

After intense speculation about whether Hodgson would risk picking Ferdinand and Chelsea captain John Terry in the same squad, an announcement confirmed that it was the Manchester United centre-half who had been left out.

Terry had previously been tipped to miss out with Hodgson questioning whether the centre-half could exist happily in the same squad as Ferdinand, who has accumulated 81 caps since making his debut in 1997. Terry is facing a July court case on allegations he racially abused Ferdinand’s younger brother Anton during Chelsea’s Premier League clash with QPR last October, accusations he strongly denies.

Pure footballing decision: Hodgson

However, Ferdinand’s ability to withstand the rigours of a tournament campaign were called into doubt by his Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson last week, who questioned whether the defender could play two games in four days.

“It’s purely a footballing decision,” said Hodgson. “He’s a player I respect as a person and a man. But I had to make a footballing decision I had to decide on the basis of what I’ve seen in recent months. Rio’s only played once for England in the last year. On a footballing basis I wanted people like Phil Jones in the squad. It was a hard phone call to make. I can only hope that Rio accepts my decision.”

Manager justifies Terry’s inclusion

Hodgson, meanwhile, confirmed Liverpool’s Steven Gerrard would captain England at the Euro while also defending his decision to pick Terry, saying his looming court case had not figured in his calculations.

“If we take the court case first of all – we must emphasise at first that he’s an innocent man until such time as he’s been proven guilty. I was given a free hand. I realised when I selected him there would be people who would raise their eyebrows. But I think he’s played well and he’s played an important part in their FA Cup victory and reaching the Champions League final. I’m hoping he will help us win matches.”

Other notable selections on Wednesday saw Arsenal teenager Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain earn his first senior call-up after a promising first season with the Premier League giants. Meanwhile Liverpool striker Andy Carroll’s reward for a strong finish to the season is a place among the pool of four strikers picked by Hodgson.

The squad includes Joe Hart, Rob Green, John Ruddy, Glen Johnson, Phil Jones, John Terry, Joleon Lescott, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Leighton Baines, Theo Walcott, Stewart Downing, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Steven Gerrard, Gareth Barry, Frank Lampard, Scott Parker, Ashley Young, James Milner, Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Andy Carroll and Jermain Defoe.


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