Rio Ferdinand is to take a 15-hour flight to Qatar to work as a television pundit on England’s World Cup qualification match against San Marino despite pulling out of the squad to play the game because his fitness regime wouldn’t allow it, the
Ferdinand was named in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the fixtures with San Marino and Montenegro, the first time Hodgson has picked Ferdinand since he became England manager, putting Ferdinand in line for his first international appearances since June 2011.
However, it was announced on Monday that Ferdinand had pulled out of the travelling party, citing the detailed medical and training programme implemented for him at Manchester United as the reason why he was unable to play for England. United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had previously expressed surprise that Ferdinand was in the squad, later confirming Ferdinand would join up with the group, only for the centre-back to pull out days later.
But it has now been reported that while the England squad, coaches and officials travel to San Marino, in northern Italy, for the Friday fixture, Ferdinand will embark on a much longer journey – a trip three times as long, the Mirror says – to work for the Al Jazeera network, with the broadcast coming from Doha.
Ferdinand was called up by Hodgson after a number of defensive injuries, which was only compounded by Michael Dawson and Gary Cahill being struck down in the weekend Premier League fixtures. Hodgson looks set to use Ferdinand’s United teammate Michael Carrick, a midfielder, in defence against San Marino.
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