Rio Ferdinand 'gutted' at England Euro 2012 snub

Rio Ferdinand says he is "gutted" to have been left out of England's 23-man squad for Euro 2012.

The Manchester United defender, 33, was the most high-profile omission from manager Roy Hodgson's squad for the tournament in Ukraine and Poland.

"Absolutely loved playing for England. To say I'm gutted is an understatement of the highest order," Ferdinand wrote on social networking site Twitter.external-link

Hodgson insists leaving Ferdinand out of his squad is a footballing decision.

Ferdinand's omission avoids a potential conflict with John Terry, who is to stand trial in July over a charge he racially abused Ferdinand's brother Anton. Terry denies the charge.

"I selected John Terry for footballing reasons and I left out Rio Ferdinand for footballing reasons," said Hodgson.

"I've spoken to both of them of course. I had to do that."

He added: "In the last couple of days I've spoken to both of them and explained to them why I've come to the decision."

"He [Rio] was obviously disappointed. I'd be surprised had he not been. He was very gracious and he wished myself and the team the very best of luck in the tournament."

Chelsea centre-back Terry was stripped of the captaincy for a second time by the Football Association in February over allegations that he racially abused Anton Ferdinand in a Premier League match against QPR.

The FA's decision led to Fabio Capello resigning as England boss and the recent appointment of Hodgson.

"I realised that when I selected him [Terry] there would be people who would raise eyebrows but that's the decision that I've made, that's the decision I shall live with."

Ferdinand has been hampered by back problems in recent years but made 30 Premier League appearances this season, the most times he has featured in a campaign since 2007-08.

But his club manager Sir Alex Ferguson said recently: "You play something like a game every four days. Rio Ferdinand couldn't do that."

Ferdinand, who has never played in a European Championship and won the first of 81 caps in 1997, was named England captain in February 2010 after Terry was removed from the role for the first time following allegations about his private life.

But the United defender suffered a knee ligament injury in England's first training session in South Africa ahead of the 2010 World Cup and missed the tournament.

Ferdinand's subsequent unavailability saw Capello pass the captaincy back to Terry in March last year and he made the last of his England appearances in the 2-2 draw with Switzerland in June 2011.

"I had a private conversation with Sir Alex [Ferguson] 10 days ago," said Hodgson. "I think Rio has done exceptionally well this year. He's played a lot of matches through injury.

"He's got himself on the field of play when many a player wouldn't have done so.

"I'm also wary of that because I know there have been times in the season where Rio has played three matches in a week.

"I would be lying if that [the ability to play matches close together] was the major reason for not selecting him.

"It was purely on other footballing reasons.

"I admire Rio Ferdinand as a player. I think he's a fine footballer and I respect him, but I had to pick a squad with defenders I wanted to take to the Euros."